Transtasman bubble break: 55 Kiwis travelled to Melbourne, 25 to Perth, premiers say

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews says he has been told that 55 New Zealand passengers have entered the state without having to quarantine.

Australia’s Acting Immigration Minister Alan Tudge had said the department knew about

17 New Zealanders trying to enter Melbourne on Friday.

But at a press conference today, Andrews said the latest list from Australia’s federal government revealed 55 New Zealanders had travelled on to the city.

He said they had found 23 of those people at 16 addresses, after receiving the list 12 hours after they arrived.

And Western Australia Premier Mark McGowan has confirmed 25 people – including a child – from New Zealand are now in hotel quarantine, after flying into Perth overnight.

Andrews said authorised officers were now based at Melbourne Airport.

“I don’t control the borders, and I don’t control what happens at Sydney Airport and I don’t think anyone can reasonably expect me to. I’m not looking for a quarrel on this, I just want it fixed.”

Tudge said the Victorian Government was “represented” by Victoria’s chief health officer Brett Sutton at a meeting that discussed what should happen if New Zealanders flew from Sydney or Darwin (as part of the transtasman bubble) to another Australian state.

“We further understand from the Age newspaper today that the Premier’s own department had in fact given authorisation to individuals who had arrived from New Zealand to Sydney to then travel on to Victoria,” Tudge told reporters.

“So the Victorian Government was present when it was discussed, they were made aware that this was going to occur, they raised no objections in the meetings, and furthermore, expressly authorised individuals who were arriving into Sydney from New Zealand to be able to travel on into Victoria.”

Tudge asked Andrews to “reveal” the emails that “show, clearly and demonstrably, that they authorised the people to come into Victoria”, which would “completely clear this up”.

Meanwhile Western Australia Premier Mark McGowan said it’s yet another area where the Federal Australian Government needs to provide more support, after 25 of those on the transtasman bubble flights from New Zealand had gone on to fly into Perth.

They are now in hotel quarantine.

“We would prefer better managements of these arrangements, but this is something that happened that was outside of our control,” he said.

“We would like further assistance from the Commonwealth, in particular, about making sure that… we get proper manifests and proper advice as to those people that are coming in, so we can deal with these situations.”

Yesterday, Andrews said he was “very disappointed” 17 travellers from New Zealand were able to enter Victoria, despite the state not taking part in the travel bubble that started on Friday.

The passengers, who flew into Sydney, did not need to enter hotel quarantine under the new transtasman travel bubble arrangements.

Under the deal between the two nations, New Zealanders are permitted to travel quarantine-free into both NSW and the Northern Territory, under the proviso they’ve not been in a Covid-19 hotspot in the 14 days leading up to their travel.

Andrews said he had written to Prime Minister Scott Morrison about it.

He said his office still was not able to obtain travel cards from the Australian Border Force as to “who these people are and where they have gone”.

“We are still waiting for Australian Border Force to provide us with the passenger cards for each of those 17 people,” he said.

“We will be visiting each of those people and making sure that they are fully up to date, as it were, when it comes to the rules, the regulations, the structures that we have in Victoria.

“I can’t tell you whether they are New Zealand or Australian citizens. I know where they came from and how they got here. I don’t know how they got here in a policy sense.

“We’re disappointed this has happened given that I had written to the Prime Minister on this very issue the previous day, saying at some point we will join that New Zealand/Australia travel bubble, but it is not appropriate now.

“We don’t want anything at all to undermine the amazing job that Victorians have done and are doing. Some things have gone wrong here. We are very much at the end of that, not necessarily part of it. We made it clear that we didn’t want to be part – could not be part of the bubble arrangements at this point.”

Andrews said it was “not fair” when Victorians can’t freely move around their own state to have people arriving from another country, “without us knowing”.

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