NSW owed more than $ 175 million in unpaid hotel quarantine fees from COVID-19

Returning travelers and state and territorial governments owe New South Wales more than $ 175 million in unpaid hotel quarantine fees.

Revenue NSW figures show out of the 142,728 invoices issued on November 11, where 62,426 were paid and 65,408 still outstanding – totaling $ 110.3 million.

It accounts for more than 40 percent of the total bill for returned travelers.

Queensland, Western Australia and the Northern Territory also owe $ 65.85 million to the NSW government, according to a separate agreement secured in April 2020.

Victoria, South Australia, the ACT and Tasmania all squared off their bills.

NSW Treasurer Matt Kean said it’s time for these jurisdictions to pay.

“We want them to pay, they avoided their responsibility during COVID, they locked their citizens out of their states and tried to prevent them from returning home,” Mr Kean said.

“We are [NSW] accepted them and it’s fair that those states and territories come in handy with the money that NSW taxpayers put in. “

Mr Kean says NSW has taken care of returning travelers from all states and territories.(ABC News)

The Queensland Health Minister also weighed in on the debate by urging residents to pay their bill. However, Mr Kean criticized her comments as “a bit rich” because the Queensland government “will not”.

Rules on hotel quarantine were introduced last year when the COVID-19 pandemic took over. They were part of a set of measures taken to help contain the spread of infections.

Under the pulver health order, travelers had to quarantine for 14 days at a selected facility. This no longer applies to those fully vaccinated after the restrictions were lifted on November 1st.

Fees for international travelers went into effect in July 2020. Prior to that, they were not charged.

NSW Minister for Finance and Small Business Damien Tudehope had a similar message to returning travelers with outstanding payments.

“It’s fair for the remaining taxpayers in New South Wales that people in hotel quarantine pay their dues,” Mr Tudehope said.

“Don’t put the bill aside for another day … Revenue NSW has a range of options when it comes to resolving these bills. Contact us today and take it.”

a man outside a hotel taking luggage
More than 4,800 quarantine hotel bills were waived.(AAP: Joel Carrett)

More than 4,800 bills have been waived in line with government guidelines that include lack of ability to pay and exemptions for Australian Defense Force personnel.

In a statement, Revenue NSW said that although the cost of the quarantine program was significant, the fees were only part of the total cost incurred by NSW.

There were 196 locally obtained COVID-19 cases and one death reported in NSW as of the 20th last night.

There are currently 224 people with COVID in hospital, 32 of whom are in intensive care and 16 on ventilators.

More than 90 percent of those aged 16 and over are now fully vaccinated and 94 percent have received at least one dose of COVID-19 sting.

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