‘Doing our bit’: Tasmania to take in 450 stranded Aussies
TASMANIA will receive about 450 Australians stranded overseas through a deal announced today during Prime Minister Scott Morrison's visit to Hobart.
Mr Morrison said Hobart International Airport would receive three repatriation flights, or so-called mercy flights between now and the end of the year.
Premier Peter Gutwein said it was fulfilling his promise to national cabinet for Tasmania to "do our bit" to bring home Australians stuck overseas due to the coronavirus pandemic.
He said those returning from overseas would be health tested before flying and would also be tested during their quarantine stay in Tasmania before entering the community.
"We'll work closely with Public Health, the Deputy State Controller to ensure we have all the systems in place and we'll receive ADF support to ensure we can do that safely for Tasmanians,' Mr Gutwein said.
Mr Morrison also spruiked plans for direct flights between Hobart and New Zealand, which he said was about providing the next step in the state's - and nation's - recovery.
"The comeback in Australia is absolutely underway, but that didn't happen by accident. That's why you have to think of the next challenge," Mr Morrison said.
Mr Gutwein said he expected the NZ flights to be up and running by the end of January, or at least some time in the first quarter of 2021.
Mr Morrison was given a tour of Robert Pennicott's new 17m catamaran, the wilderness tour veteran's biggest vessel so far.
The PM also did a walkthrough of Salamanca Market, stopping to try some Bruny Island oysters and purchased two handknitted jumpers from Emma Hope retro and vintage for himself and his wife Jenny who was there with him.
The Prime Minister will attend today's Liberal party's state conference.
Meanwhile, Hobart International Airport Acting CEO Matt Cocker has welcomed the government backing for the return of international flights to Tasmania.
"Today's announcement will put the 'international' back into 'Hobart International Airport' and will help Tasmania's economic recovery take off," Mr Cocker said.
"This is the culmination of years of hard work. Our vision has been for Hobart to be a truly international airport and it's fantastic both the state and federal governments support that.
"It's imperative we act quickly to capitalise on the momentum and to help Tasmania's economic recovery.
"Obviously flights between Hobart and New Zealand will be a huge boost for tourism in Tasmania, but the infrastructure upgrades will also create more local Tasmania jobs.
"We look forward to working with the state and federal governments, our airline partners and the broader community to make sure this investment delivers significant benefits for Tasmania."
Originally published as 'Doing our bit': Tasmania to take in 450 stranded Aussies