Australia starts making travellers pay for 14-day hotel quarantine

Travellers rather than taxpayers will soon be footing the bill for mandatory hotel isolation upon arriving in Australia.

By David Flynn, June 18 2020
Australia starts making travellers pay for 14-day hotel quarantine

Queensland will begin making international travellers pick up the hotel bill for their mandatory two-week hotel quarantine period from July 1, and other states may follow as they shift the multi-million dollar burden away from coffers which have already been strained by the economic impact of the coronavirus.

Australia enacted a compulsory 14-day isolation period for all inbound passengers as of March 29, with travellers escorted by Australian Border Force staff to a Government-nominated hotel at their point of entry into the country.

However, the National Cabinet has given the go-ahead for states and territories to being directly charging international arrivals for all quarantine costs, and Queensland is the first to send the bill to travellers rather than taxpayers.

The Queensland Government says it has already spent "more than $19 million accommodating international arrivals (and) we project that figure to surpass $24 million by 30 June."

"This was a critical measure to prevent COVID-19 but it also has been a costly measure to the public."

So how much will arriving passengers have to pay for their 14-day stay?

The government has contracted a package deal with hotels across the state at $135 per room, with up to two adults and children allowed in a single room. Adults are charged $65 per person per day for meals, with children's meals at half price.

That pegs the total cost for 14 days at $2,800 for a solo traveller, $3,710 for a couple, $4,165 for two adults with one child and $4,620 for a family of four.

The government will still foot the bill for transport to the hotel, security and "logistics", and says "a hardship scheme will be available to help vulnerable people and those facing financial difficulties. Eligibility criteria will be developed for each of these groups of people which will be made available ahead of 1 July 2020."

There's no option to "self-quarantine at home or another pre-booked accommodation," the government says.

"This is due to the significant health risk that cannot be appropriately managed at other residences or accommodation providers. The risk of quarantine not being strictly followed and the ability for people to mix more easily in the community creates an unacceptable risk of COVID-19 transmission in the community."

The Northern Territory will allow inbound travellers to self-isolate in a place of their choosing rather than being sent into hotel quarantine.

Sydney remains the primary gateways for travellers arriving into Australia, with more than 60 per cent of arrivals, NSW government has reportedly spent more than $16 million on quarantine accommodation.

David

David Flynn is the Editor-in-Chief of Executive Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.

08 Feb 2018

Total posts 86

How very Australian....Welcome home, here's a bill

01 Nov 2012

Total posts 5

To be fair, if you've been ignoring government advice to return home for 3 months, you should wear the costs if you want to return to Australia.

American Airlines - AAdvantage

13 Jul 2015

Total posts 242

Some people have been unable to get back at all. My dad went to Malaysia as his dad, my grandfather, passed away in March- unfortunately Malaysia Airlines cancelled all flights out and Malaysia imposed a strict quanrintine. Dad's finally taken the first flight out to Aus early July - won't be amazing to get hit by this fee on top.

Also, the quality of the food still looks rubbish, why so high a fee?

01 Nov 2012

Total posts 5

Of course there will always be exceptions, and hopefully the hardship thing helps. I think the original premise was a bit over simplistic..

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

08 Jul 2017

Total posts 23

Many have said the food quality has improved. People should not be getting a bill for this.

16 Jan 2018

Total posts 94

I agree with you. It's been months and there have been repatriation flights as well. If someone has chosen to ignore it why should I have to pay for their 2 weeks at a 5 star hotel. I can't imagine someone being anywhere and completely oblivious to the outside world.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

07 Aug 2013

Total posts 150

Exactly right - and they they have nerve to complain about the free food they get.

You're right in saying it has been months. We have been in government enforced lock down since March 16. Our employer refused to let us leave early and then it became impossible to do so. The few repatriation flights that were made available were exiting from other states that we could not get to; domestic flights, buses, and trains ceased to operate and state borders were closed. We were contained within our living compound for 13 weeks. Believe me, if there was a chance to leave we would have jumped at the opportunity. I still pay taxes in Australia and agree that the burden placed on the economy is unfair. I would happily make a contribution to the cost if it meant I could get home, but I also think the government is being ripped off at $65 per person, per day for food bills. What 'average' Australian family would budget for this much per day? If it's wagu and wine then perhaps, but who will then pay my coronary medical costs!

24 Sep 2019

Total posts 13

Give me the name of the 5 star hotel that is supplying 3 meals per day room service for $65 and I'm there! Some of them charge $40 just for breakfast.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

08 Jul 2017

Total posts 23

Not everyone can pack up their lives and leave overnight. Some might have work contracts, schools, study or homes let alone businesses, and nothing to return home to.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

30 Aug 2018

Total posts 9

Some people may not have had any reason to come 'home' and have had their hand forced by employment ending (and losing residency as a side effect) or the difficulty of winding up their obligations (housing, financial etc.) wherever they are.

I imagine quite a few returnees in the second half of the year will be in this category.

QF

04 Apr 2014

Total posts 164

Absolutely. The longer this goes on for the more people will be traveling not because they want to but because circumstances Outside their control require it.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

08 Jun 2016

Total posts 35

Tremere - you are absolutely right. I am in that boat -was planning on coming home prior to global lockdown. Winding up obligations (selling house, car etc etc) takes time and because of the shutdown where I am, that was not particularly realistic nor financially sound to attempt. Having just lost my job (2 days ago) I'm starting to figure out next steps with the hope I'll be able to make it back before the end of the year.

Benmay,

To be fair, international borders closed all around the world and some people were not able to get out, despite every effort made. Consider that.

James

27 Jun 2020

Total posts 5

I didn't leave my residence country if USA during the worst as being high risk category travel was too daunting.

With my 95 year old mum in aged care in Melbourne I was desperate to come back to see her. Especially after another close friend's mum passed away in Sydney... and she couldn't return.

When I finally came in May I had my quarantine. With mediocre food and prison like feeling. No fresh air. Two 15 minute walks outside supervised.

It was incredibly hard. So much harder than imagined. All to spend a precious 4 weeks with my mum before returning to work and partner in US.

In October I'll be doing it again. And having a heart operation. I don't mind paying... however , conditions offered need to be risen so much to warrant paying. It's fine I'm outside looking in but it was pretty darn tough in there.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

08 Jul 2017

Total posts 23

Good way to stop all passenger movements and completely stall an industry. The hotel bill is pittance for the country. Pursue top 100 companies who pay zero in tax before killing another industry off.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

07 Aug 2013

Total posts 150

I am happy to see this it shouldn't be taxpayers who fund people's decisions to have gone overseas and return - whether it's for very personal reasons or not - although the main culprits who still went overseas for holidays in early stages of pandemic came back to fully funded quarrantine - it's the people who were not able to get back that will be disadvantaged which is unfair but still - everyone's made sacrifices last few months and if u went overseas a 2 weeks secure and safe hotel stay is one coat to bare.

27 Jun 2020

Total posts 5

Many people returning are residents of overseas country coming home to check on aging parents or sick relatives. ( not Covid)

The Australian Border Force and DHHS both told me that there were many in this category. Me included.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

04 Nov 2011

Total posts 348

The should have been doing this a long time ago, people have had plenty of time to return home.

18 Jun 2020

Total posts 1

long overdue

NT
NT

30 Apr 2013

Total posts 4

Cool. I'm happy pay so let me leave!

21 Jun 2020

Total posts 5

If all airlines and governments request mandatory testing before passenger board flight and not on arrival everyone can travel safe.

Qantas

19 Apr 2012

Total posts 679

Mandatory testing doesn't get pre-symptomatic that is why NZ has testing day 3 and 12 of 14 day quarantine and Greece day 1 and day 6 after one week quarantine. Most doctors/hospitals require two negative tests a couple of day apart, and even then. cases still pop up or re-emerge.

27 Jun 2020

Total posts 5

Australia is days 3 and 111

Qantas

22 Oct 2012

Total posts 277

$200 a night, including 3 meals a day, is a very fair price.

01 Apr 2014

Total posts 90

Agree - good luck finding accomodation pre-COVID for $135 per night at most average and above places. Whilst $65 per day seems about right for inflated Room Service food

12 Dec 2012

Total posts 978

That's more then I normally pay for hotels when traveling.

$910 for 2 weeks of food?

Provided there is a fridge and microwave in the room, I could source 2 weeks of food for ~$140.

I can't even remember the last time I even had 3 meals in a single day.

I only eat lunch when traveling/on holiday. I only eat breakfast on work days. ie. I normally have 12 meals/week.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

08 Jul 2017

Total posts 23

12 meals cost you $140. Sounds high.

Thanks! I guess I'm supposed to be thankful and feel welcomed.

I don't actually want to return to Australia where I will be an additional burden. I will be unemployed and I don't have anywhere to live. I am being forced to Australia because I am an Australian citizen, my work permit expires at the end of July and I am only allowed to return to my country of nationality. I am not permitted to repatriate to my next country of employment. I am unable to sell my household goods or vehicles and will lose in access of $20,000 as a result. Add in excess of $10,000 to get back to Australia and then the cost of quarantine and should feel grateful. For the five years I've lived and worked OS, I have continued to pay annual taxes in Australia.

The Australian government will not allow me to leave Australia once I've completed the quarantine period. There is a ban on all travel in and out of the country except for repatriating nationals. Working and living overseas is not one of the exemptions permitted.

Please don't make generalised comments that are ill-informed about the situation of individuals you know nothing about. The situation is not as straight forward as many comments imply.

23 Jun 2020

Total posts 1

You are not alone... I am stuck here too.. Europe is opening and so are other countries but our politicians want to appease their political financiers by keeping us under lock and key. If they impose new rules then they cannot make them retrospective. If people leave after the new rules then it is on them but when rules are made after departure then the Government must pay up.

27 Jun 2020

Total posts 5

No microwave. Just electric kettle. No crockery no cutlery

27 Jun 2020

Total posts 5

Resident of overseas country can leave

I just did. As long as you have spent more time out of Australia than in over a five year period. Your passport proves this

XWu
XWu

09 May 2020

Total posts 46

“ Sydney remains the primary gateways for travellers arriving into Australia, with more than 60 per cent of arrivals, NSW government has reportedly spent more than $16 million on quarantine accommodation.”

Hmm, the ABC reported today $50M spend by NSW on quarantine

And seriously some of the glob people were getting as seen in posts in early April in some 5 star hotel is not worth the $65 daily meal cost.

But that's rather state government more or less handing over complete control of quality to the hotel management

15 Aug 2018

Total posts 6

This could all be avoided by using a Hong Kong style system. At the airport they put a tracking app on your phone and a Bluetooth wristband that connects to the app. You must do a COVID test at the airport then you can go directly home to stay there for 14 days (policed through the app). A$5000 fine or 6 months jail if you break quarantine.

Currently the Australian system is just a hotel stimulus package regardless of who pays.

By the way timid pollies should have opened “bubbles” to similarly safe countries by now

XWu
XWu

09 May 2020

Total posts 46

@ Ted Striker

“Surely you can't be serious!”

The quarantine works better when rules are enforced at the time rather than punishment applied in retrospect

The antics of what some people under mandatory quarantine in hotels still managed to do, shows how little regard enough people have with doing the right thing even when they know police are posted at the hotel.

Far more people will be tempted to break quarantine at home as shown when the quarantine was allowed to be at home.

It works better in HK where the tech is better for tracking (associated with a densely populated city) and a population with different character (sort of).

And I suspect by the time the transgressors get to the courts, memories will fade and magistrates more forgiving and the punishment given will be nothing close to be a deterrent.

I am serious and will promise not to call you Shirley again

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

10 May 2014

Total posts 108

Absolute crap! Deprivation of liberty and and forced detention without choice is imprisonment.

I don't mind paying if I am given the choice of where and the additions I want, remove that choice and be stuffed if I am going to pay, especially $65 a day for shit food!

19 Jun 2020

Total posts 1

My father passed away 14 days ago and I fly out on Saturday for the funeral and to spend time supporting my mother.

I have mixed feelings about the charge. As a community protection initiative it feels a little unfair that I have to carry the burden of the cost.

If I committed a crime I don't have to pay for the prison accommodation and yet that would definitely be due to my personal actions.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

10 May 2014

Total posts 108

My point exactly.

13 Aug 2015

Total posts 43

So many ignorant comments here about why and when people may travel..

Also not one comment about testing. Testing (which is cheap compared to the cost of a hotel, no matter who is paying) combined with a shorter term quarantine while results are processed would be much more effective.. and cheaper.

Also no consideration regarding those with antibodies.

The Australian Government is overstepping its bounds on so many levels, especially when it comes out outbound travel. I think you'll find the UN agrees. It'll be interesting to see how it plays out.

Qantas

19 Apr 2012

Total posts 679

Vantage false negatives (also on antibody tests) is as high as one third hence the need for two tests. False positives also occur but it is the false negatives which are the very big problem.

Qantas

19 Apr 2012

Total posts 679

Vantage also ver many countries require exit permits even when not under national emergency legislation.

19 Jun 2020

Total posts 2

HI All,

I am an Australian citizen. My parents are in India. My Father health is not well. I need to travel to india and to stay there for 4 weeks as there is no one to look after them . After that i need to return to Australia again.

under what reason i can apply for exemption.

What documentation i have to submit to Immigration.

Which airlines are taking passengers to India.

Please advice.

thanks in advance.

15 Aug 2018

Total posts 6

Search : Covid-19 (Novel coronavirus) request to travel form

you should get the home affairs website

you can see the exemption criteria which includes unavoidable personal buisness and humanitarian grounds.

Ted: For security and anti-spam reasons, many comments with links are flagged for manual review by the moderator and admin team before publication. If your comment is flagged and not immediately published, please do not try and post the same comment again, or attempt to circumvent that security system by changing the formatting of the comment. This only creates more work for the admin team, and slows down the publishing of other comments.

16 Nov 2018

Total posts 19

When returned travelers are being asked to pay for quarantine in July, they should also be given the choices for accommodation luxury levels. At least offer 3-4-5 star options from $80 to $135. Also food delivery should also be allowed, either ubereats or family delivery.

XWu
XWu

09 May 2020

Total posts 46

@ Jason526

I suspect many 5-star hotel will be planning to get out of their contract with state government as some are saying the cost-renumeration for having the entire hotel under quarantine rules (can't do it partially) is no better than low occupancy rate with higher rates. The quarantine business was to keep things going. Now that the borders are opening for some states, the better hotels rather take a risk with local travellers paying their way (and casual employees will be rostered according to occupancy rates) rather than block off their entire business at $200 max pp daily.

Qantas

19 Apr 2012

Total posts 679

Jason food delivery is allowed at least according to most personal experiences reported.

19 Jun 2020

Total posts 3

As someone who has been heavily involved in this process as part of my job, I can confirm that complaints of hotels refusing to accept any kind of delivery for quarantined travellers, including food are relatively common. Other common issues have been hotels refusing to launder clothes for the 14 days, refusing to offer changes of bed linen, delivering cold food, delivering meat based meals to vegetarians, providing inappropriate meals for young children and providing rooms without opening windows or access to fresh air. Another common issue has been hotels charging their usual rate for access to wifi, with some billing $40 a day for access.

They are far from the holiday camps which some would seem to believe, and I can't help believing that the mental health consequences for many of these people will be worse than the disease. Very few are uninformed travellers. The majority that I have encountered have been unable to return to Australia due to transport issues. Many have also returned to either comfort a sick or dying relative, due to a death in the family or because they want to be with their family or children, which I personally think is a perfectly reasonable aspiration.

In my opinion, Australia needs to adopt the same testing regime as Hong Kong, you are tested at the airport, if you are negative, you are free to go home and isolate for 7 days, if you are tested as positive if inconclusive, you are put into government qaurantine for 14 days.

If the citizen is required to pay for the accommodation, this should be 100% tax deducatble, in my view, if the government is making 14 days qaurantine mandatory, they cough up for it. It is that simple.

Qantas

19 Apr 2012

Total posts 679

James a good idea but Australians have failed self isolating very badly so the 7 days would have to be somewhere secure and if tested positive then 14 days quarantine after a second negative test much like NZ.

05 Oct 2017

Total posts 130

Will there be dual pricing, with one price charged for Aussies and a higher price for foreigners?

This is the way many Asian countries do it. Not sure why Australia hasn't caught on.

21 Jun 2020

Total posts 1

Stop dictatorship!! forced quarantine, forced to pay, etc, we can't do anything or jail/punishment!!

22 Jun 2020

Total posts 1

If your returning into forced hotel quarantine what difference does it make if it was two months ago or next year. Its the governments idea so let them pay.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

13 Jan 2018

Total posts 18

While all travel was, effectively, shut down, hotel quarantine at a set government price was practical if not essential for both the hotels and the Australian public. However as travel and tourism returns, commercial reality will return and $135 per night is not sustainable for most 4 and all 5 star hotels in Australia, so 2 things must occur. Market rates in fully operational hotels will return which will cause a massive blowout in what governments must pay to retain the policy.

If the "answer" is to have returnees pay, there's another problem - who is going to choose to stay in a hotel which is also accomodating quarantined travellers? Answer - nobody, which leaves the hotel with no alternative other than to politely decline the governments requests for accomodation. If it is not a "request", then the government will have to pay for the whole hotel, occupied or not, which will be way too expensive. A lawyers picnic will follow.

07 May 2020

Total posts 16

A small point that seems to have been missed by the media is that the NSW Covid 19 Health Order relating to mandatory 14 day quarantine for international arrivals has been repealed today, 25 June 2020.
Therefore there is no regulation in NSW to force people into 14 day hotel quarantine.

Perhaps the government is just being very quiet about this trivial matter.

Bad news for those arrivals today who get "tricked" into accepting a 14 day quarantine by signing the consent form presented at arrivals. They probably don't even know that they do not need to consent and therefore could go about their daily lives like the rest of us.

Qantas

19 Apr 2012

Total posts 679

I think you will find have people will be required to follow a health order and that may and most probably will be 14 day quarantine in a hotel. Not sure being asked to follow a health order is 'being tricked'. They do not need to consent but then they could be arrested or more likely out on the flight back to where thay came from, for not following a legitimate health order. Like to see someone try to test the order.

11 Dec 2016

Total posts 16

it's a Commonwealth order and it was in fact renewed in time for another 90 days in June.

07 May 2020

Total posts 16

Patrickk. When I looked at the NSW government website this morning they were referring to their Health Order enacted on 28 Mar 2020 which was repealed today 25 June 2020. So that means there is no order to have to follow in NSW. Perhaps the NSW government has today enacted a new order?

Qantas

19 Apr 2012

Total posts 679

Gorobin they have to be allowed entry to the country to follow the order. If a condition of that entry is signing a document agreeing to hotel quarantine then a specific State health order may not be required it may be enough to come under the federal legislation and as evidence has shows with quarantined people testing positive this may well be one such case.

07 May 2020

Total posts 16

Patrickk. You are not correct. But the discussion is now not relevant because in the early hours of today the NSW government issued a new Covid Health Order for mandatory 14 day quarantine. This order unlike the previous one is indefinite. So no plan or any indication from NSW government. It's a case of stick your finger in the air and see if you can detect any wind, and which direction it is blowing from. Happy days and more unemployment.

Qantas

19 Apr 2012

Total posts 679

Gorobin the federal government bio security act comes into play here so even if the NSW had no such orders the federal government Act would be enforced and do note that most cases except for Victoria are from quarantine, so not sure what you are wishing on us.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

17 Oct 2016

Total posts 8

Trying to work out what mechanism they could use to force a traveller to pay. It is governments choice to force the 14 day hotel stay. If a traveller refuses to sign that they will pay what are they going to do?

Qantas

19 Apr 2012

Total posts 679

Hvanney for Australia residents the ATO is a very efficient fee collector.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

17 Oct 2016

Total posts 8

The state is the party charging for the quarantine, Not sure the ATO would be interested in collecting the State's debts for them

Qantas

19 Apr 2012

Total posts 679

If there is something in it for them they may. My point is that government has many ways of collecting outstanding debts.

adi
adi

28 May 2020

Total posts 25

I'm happy to pay for this 14 day quarantine and tests, just let me out from here without begging for a permission.


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