Confirmation that the first invoices for hotel quarantine stays have hit letterboxes, once again highlights the chaos and confusion surrounding Daniel Andrews’ relaunched hotel quarantine program.
This six-week delay in issuing invoices resulted from the Andrews Government failing to have the necessary legislation in place to charge returned travellers for their hotel quarantine stay and was only rectified after planes started to arrive back into Melbourne.
It also follows Victorian taxpayers footing a $200 million bill for the catastrophic first hotel quarantine program and serious questions remain as to whether these fees will ever be collected.
Despite having six months to get Victoria’s hotel quarantine program right, Labor’s relaunched program has stumbled out of the blocks with several issues, including;
- A last-minute backflip over the number and duties of ADF personnel involved in the program.
- Delayed opening of one of two “hot” hotels due to ongoing ventilation issues.
- Introduction of legislation to enable the lawful charging of fees for hotel quarantine after the first returned travellers had arrived.
- A reference to charges for Victoria’s hotel quarantine program only uploaded to the DHHS website on 4 December, just three days before the first arrivals returned.
With the details of hotel quarantine fee arrangements not finalised until mid-January, many returning Victorians from interstate or overseas have been caught out with no way of knowing what they are paying for, when payment is due, or how to apply for fee waivers or deferrals.
The Victorian Liberal Nationals support a transparent, user pays contribution to the cost of hotel quarantine, but Daniel Andrews’ last minute scramble has left returning Victorians and their families in the dark and fending for themselves.
Comments attributable to Shadow Minister for Police & Community Safety, David Southwick:
“Only Daniel Andrews would relaunch a failed hotel quarantine program and forget to put in place a process to charge people and rush laws before the parliament after the first plane had landed.
“With Victorian taxpayers footing a $200 million bill for the catastrophic first hotel quarantine program and invoices only being issued weeks after the fact – serious questions remain as to whether these fees will ever be collected.
“Daniel Andrews’ New Year’s border lockdown left many Victorians confused and questioning why they were detained in the first place and why they should pay.
“The Victorian Liberal Nationals support a user pays contribution to the cost of hotel quarantine, but Labor’s last-minute scramble has left taxpayers exposed to further costs.”