Thursday, 29 October 2020
Statements by Members
COVID-19: International Travel
This week Melburnians have celebrated being able to leave their homes, yet there are still thousands of Victorians stuck overseas trying to actually get home. In fact, something like 8,000 Victorians are overseas wanting to return to Australia, and over 1,500 of these are vulnerable. I raise this issue because all of us should feel for every Australian who remains unable to return to their own country.
I also raise this because every day that Melbourne remains closed to arrivals is a day that residents of my own electorate and in my own state are deprived of more opportunities to secure flights. The exclusion of Victoria from the national system is acting as a handbrake on getting Aussies back. Today's announcement by the Premier of Victoria that they will move to allow international arrivals and quarantine at some point towards the end of November is a welcome step, but it's not enough. Surely, with living and breathing examples of how to run a successful hotel quarantine system in every other state of the federation, the Victorian government could have emulated those systems. Waiting for its inquiry to conclude does not stack up and is an incredible vote of no confidence by the Premier in the capacity of his own government. Even a firm start date would allow airlines to plan and Australians to book, knowing there is some hope of ending the tortuous uncertainty they have faced. We need Victoria open to arrivals if we are to make the aspiration of getting Australians home by Christmas a reality, and I plead with the Premier to make that so.