Australian-New Zealand journey bubble guidelines breached on first day
- A travel bubble between New Zealand, NSW and the Northern Territory has already broken the rules
- On the first day of operation, some passengers who arrived in Sydney also flew to Perth and Melbourne
- Only 21 out of an expected 55 travelers were considered in Melbourne
- All 23 visitors to Perth have now been placed in hotel and home quarantine
- Immigration minister Alan Tudge, supported by a statement from the federal government, claims internal flights are to be expected and that prime ministers are aware of them
- This despite the visible surprise of Prime Ministers Dan Andrews and Mark McGowan
A travel bubble between New Zealand and a number of select Australian states has already violated their guidelines.
The bubble opened on Friday, allowing travelers from New Zealand, New South Wales and the Northern Territory to visit.
Visitors arriving in NSW reportedly took the opportunity to book flights to Western Australia and Victoria on the first day of operation.
It is believed that 55 travelers made their way to Melbourne while 23 arrived in Perth.
Authorities in Victoria have already intercepted arrivals and a handful of passengers have returned to New South Wales.
However, only 21 of the 55 expected passengers were actually intercepted at Melbourne Airport.
Of those met by the authorities, the Department of Health and Human Services explained all the necessary COVID-19 guidelines to them.
In the meantime, all 23 passengers have been quarantined for newcomers in Perth – either at home or in a hotel.
Both Mark McGowan and Dan Andrews, Prime Ministers of Western Australia and Victoria, have criticized the federal government’s handling of the situation.
Daniel Andrews expresses disappointment
At a media press event, the Victorian Prime Minister showed visible annoyance at the lack of communication.
“We were asked, ‘Do you want to be in the bubble?’ and we said no “.
Victorian Prime Minister Dan Andrews
The premier was originally told to expect 17 passengers but that was later changed to 55. Additionally, passengers expected to be in Melbourne were reportedly still in Sydney, making the situation more difficult to deal with.
“Apparently this is the ‘gold standard’ according to the federal government,” said Daniel Andrews. “12 hours later we received a list [the passengers arrived]. “
In particular, Andrews urged Immigration Secretary Alan Tudge to show better cooperation.
“”[Minister Tudge,] work with us. Let’s make sure that Victoria is not part of the bubble we never agreed on, “continued the Prime Minister.
Andrews is believed to have also written a letter to Prime Minister Scott Morrison to prevent passengers from making internal flights across Australia.
Speaking to the media, however, Alan Tudge claimed the Victorian government was aware of the situation.
“”[The Victorian Government was] realized that this would happen, “he said.
“You did not raise any objections at the meetings. In addition, people who came to Sydney from New Zealand were specifically authorized to travel to Victoria,” the minister said.
Mark McGowan asks for a better collaboration
WA Prime Minister Mark McGowan also spoke to the media on Sunday.
“We didn’t expect that,” he said.
“We would like further assistance from the Commonwealth, particularly to ensure that those who come to WA by air have adequate manifestos and advice on those who come to help us deal with these situations.” he went on.
“We picked up these people through our app […] and we have quarantined them, “concluded the Washington Prime Minister.
In an official statement, the Australian federal government has taken responsibility for the travelers themselves.
“Upon arriving in Australia from New Zealand, passengers are advised to review entry requirements for other states, including the need to conduct hotel quarantine when traveling to WA,” the statement said.
“It’s exactly the same rule, because if a traveler were to travel to WA from an Australian state, they would have to go into hotel quarantine,” he continued.
Like Minister Tudge, the statement also claimed that the travel bubble is functioning as expected at previous meetings – despite the visible surprise from both McGowan and Andrews.