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Australia Flight pause will be temporary: Morrison

21:26  04 may  2021
21:26  04 may  2021 Source:   aap.com.au

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Scott Morrison says the government is committed to bringing more Australians home from overseas, but can't risk a third wave of COVID-19.

Scott Morrison wearing glasses: Scott Morrison says he wants to bring more Australians home safely, but the flight ban is necessary. © Steve Vitt/AAP PHOTOS Scott Morrison says he wants to bring more Australians home safely, but the flight ban is necessary.

As the prime minister continues to cop flak over the decision to ban flights back from India until May 15, he is warming to the idea of a quarantine centre in Victoria and talking up the expansion of the Northern Territory's Howard Springs to a 2000-bed capacity.

However, a proposal for a quarantine facility in the southern Queensland city of Toowoomba appears doomed.

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Cabinet minister David Littleproud said the Wellcamp facility - aimed at hosting up to 1000 travellers and 300 staff - would expose western Queensland to COVID risk.

"If there was an outbreak in Toowoomba which was to spread in outback Queensland we would have a catastrophe," he told the ABC.

Mr Morrison is weighing up Victoria's proposal for a purpose-built quarantine facility next to the Mickleham post-entry pet quarantine centre, a Commonwealth site about 40km north of Melbourne.

The 500-bed facility would cost about $200 million to build, with the state government committing $15 million to get the project ready for construction.


Video: Labor MP calls for Morrison government to establish remote quarantine (Sky News Australia)

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"A lot of effort has gone into it and we will look at it seriously," Mr Morrison said.

The prime minister said the latest figures on positive cases in passengers coming out of India demanded the government pause flights.

"The pandemic is raging," he said.

"And so my government will take the steps necessary and the actions necessary to protect Australians so we can also bring more Australians home safely."

India's official count of coronavirus cases surpassed 20 million on Tuesday, nearly doubling in the past three months, while the death toll has passed 220,000.

Eight crossbenchers have written to Mr Morrison asking him to revoke the biosecurity pause, urgently repatriate Australians in India starting with the most vulnerable and set up a dedicated surge capacity quarantine facility.

Immigration Minister Alex Hawke will sit down with Indian community leaders on Wednesday to discuss the flight pause and the government's use of biosecurity measures which also include potential fines and jail for breaches.

So far 2.3 million Australians have been vaccinated.

A ban, a plan .
Good morning, early birds. The federal National Security Committee has signed off on a plan to begin repatriating the roughly 9000 Australians stranded in India once the travel ban is lifted, and the Morrison government will hand out nearly $40 million in next week's budget for gas projects. It's the news you need to know, with Chris Woods.Scott Morrison is expected to announce further details today, with the first repatriation flight expected to leave almost as soon as the ban ends, with a capacity to bring home around 200 passengers. Around 900 Australians listed as vulnerable by the Department of Foreign Affairs will be given priority, while it is unclear when commercial flights will restart.

usr: 1
This is interesting!