Australia announces plan to lift cap on international arrivals

The Federal Government has announced plans to lift the cap on international arrivals to clear the massive backlog of Aussies stranded overseas.

Under the current cap, just 4000 Australians can return home a week, leaving more than 20,000 residents stuck overseas waiting for a flight back down under.

However, following mounting pressure to lift the cap, Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack said on Wednesday the Federal Government wants to increase the number of returning Australians a week from 4000 to 6000.


“I have written to Premiers and Chief Ministers to make that possible… So that we can bring home 2000 more Australians over and above what we have been doing in recent weeks,” he said.

“This has been due to discussions taking place in National Cabinet and at regular National Cabinet meetings on a weekly basis that I have with my transport ministers across the country.”

Mr McCormack said NSW had already agreed to increase the number of people coming into the state by 500 a week.

“What we want to do is we want to make sure we increase the numbers of returning Australians to NSW by 500,” he told reporters from Wagga Wagga.

“NSW has carried the biggest load of Australians coming back and I thank the Premier, Gladys Berejiklian, and her government for making that possible.

“We will increase the number of Australians coming into Sydney by 500″.

He also confirmed Western Australia had agreed to increase it’s capacity by 500, while the number of people returning to South Australia from overseas would increase by about 360.

“I have just finished a phone call with SA Premier Steven Marshall and he wants to do as much as he can to help Australians into Adelaide,” Mr McCormack said.

“More people coming in, more flights coming in means more freights going out and he is very keen to see South Australian produce to be able to go out to export markets that SA engages and trades with”.

Meanwhile, he urged Queensland to take another 500 Australians returning from overseas into the Gold Coast or Cairns.

“As well 500 more will be coming into Queensland and I urge and encourage Annastacia Palaszczuk to look at the Gold Coast and Cairns,” he said.

Until the COVID-19 situation in Victoria eases, there will be no international flights flying into Melbourne, Mr McCormack said.