PM confirms Australia’s overseas arrival caps will be lifted

Australians still stranded overseas have been given another lifeline, with caps on the number of international arrivals into the country set to be boosted.

It comes after limits on the number of people able to touch down in Australia were halved over fears of new COVID-19 strains.

However, following National Cabinet on Friday, Prime Minister Scott Morrison confirmed the caps will again be increased in order to get more Aussies home.


“It was agreed that from 15 February, the caps will return to the previous levels for New South Wales and Queensland,” Mr Morrison said.

“So, we will see that capacity lift again. And I particularly want to thank both of those states for that.

“South Australia is also increasing what they’ll take to 530. Victoria will increase to 1,310. And Premier Andrews and I will be having further conversations about where it goes after that.

“And, of course, I’m still working through arrangements with WA Premier Mark McGowan.

“They’re obviously still working through some of the issues of this latest case, and so we just want to make sure that that’s appropriately paced, about when they might be able to return to those previous caps in Western Australia.”

Mr Morrison stressed that it’s important to note that “our borders are actually shut”.

“No-one can just come to Australia. To be able to come to Australia, you need to be an Australian resident or citizen, or have a particular exemption in a particular occupation or something of that nature, which is handled through Border Force, to enable someone to come,” he said.

“And that is only a small proportion of the arrivals that come to Australia.”

The PM said the quarantine facility at Howard Springs in the Northern Territory would also be expanded.

“We are looking to expand the capacity further of Howard Springs,” Mr Morrison said.

“Already expanding it to 850, and potentially well beyond that, which would involve a more than doubling of that capacity at Howard Springs.”

He said the Federal Government would also continue to assess the proposal in relation to Toowoomba.

“But we are still seeking a lot more information on that proposal,” Mr Morrison said.

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