The Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced, after the National Cabinet meeting, that the states and territories international arrival cap will increase.
The National Cabinet on Friday 18 Sep 2020 met to discuss the affairs of the Nation with regards to COVID-19. One of the points discussed during the meeting was the plan of the Australian Government to ease international flight restrictions and raise the cap on international arrivals.
With a significant number of Australians stuck overseas, the National Cabinet agreed that all the states and territories would collaborate towards enabling the return of Australians stuck overseas. This is to be achieved by increasing the cap on international arrivals. The governments of New South Wales (NSW) and South Australia (SA) will continue accommodating more returning Australians by increasing their current international arrivals cap by 500 and 100 respectively. The increase will commence from Monday 28 Sep 2020.
Also, the states of Queensland and Western Australia (WA) will adopt a two-stage increment in their international arrivals cap over the next three weeks. This increment will bring in an additional 500 Australians home each day. Queensland will start with an additional 200 passengers from Monday 28 Sep 2020 and then increased to 500 passengers from Monday 5 Oct 2020. Western Australia will also start with an additional 200 passengers from Monday 28 Sep 2020, and then increase to 500 passengers from Monday 12 Oct 2020.
While this development brings smiles to the faces of Australians stuck overseas who desire to return home, not every party concerned seem to agree. The West Australian Premier Mark McGowan complained that the Government had taken the states and territories by surprise when it announced its plan to increase the cap without consultation.
Currently, the international arrivals cap is 4,000 people per week. Prime Minister Scott Morrison wants it raised to 6,000 people per week. Though some concerns were expressed about quarantine arrangements, the Prime Minister while speaking with Channel Nine told that states would agree to carry a greater hotel quarantine load. He said states and territories would be able to handle the added demand for quarantine, particularly with generous Commonwealth offer of support.
In the upcoming weeks, it can be expected that more Australians overseas will be able to return home and joyfully reunite with their families.