But Victoria has halted all arrivals during its present five-day lockdown due to community transmission among quarantine staff, just a week after agreeing they would increase. Premier Daniel Andrews has flagged he wants his state to accept “hundreds” of arrivals each week in the longer term.
His call for a “cold, hard discussion” about the general international intake has sparked renewed debate over hotel quarantine arrangements.
Mr Hunt hit back without naming Mr Andrews, saying leaders had to remember it was “a vital part of our humanity” to bring Australians home.
“[These are] mums and dads coming home to see their sons and daughters, children who have been studying overseas, families that have been separated, people coming home to say goodbye to loved ones, some themselves who may have terminal conditions,” he said. “That is our deep, profound, human duty, and we will continue to do that, and we’ll encourage all states and territories to do that.”
Mr Hunt has spoken with his NT counterpart Natasha Fyles and says it’s in the territory government’s hands as to what the next step up will be.
“We have so far struck two deals with the Northern Territory and a third one is very close but it is simply dependent on their capability assessment of what is the safe carrying capacity for the third stage of the Howard Springs facility,” he said.