Canberra, March 9: A plan to quarantine international students arriving in the Australian state of Tasmania will not go ahead as initially planned, local officials said.
New South Wales (NSW) Treasurer Dominic Perrottet told local parliament on Monday that he had been working with officials in Tasmania to devise a deal whereby international students are quarantined in Hobart city, before being moved to NSW.
The plan was an attempt to get around strict limits on the number of overseas arrivals each Australian jurisdiction can process.
However, Tasmanian Premier Peter Gutwein said that due to public health concerns the deal was no longer being considered.
“The Tasmanian government confirms it has received an approach from the NSW government to quarantine international students on their behalf,” Gutwein said.
“At this time, however, we have advised this is not under consideration with our priority remaining the safe management of seasonal workers entering the state and our own international students when public health advice is that it is safe to do so.”
Currently NSW accepts close to half of all Australia’s arrivals, or just over 3,000 people per week, many of whom are from other states.
According to local media reports, many Australian citizens remain stranded overseas on long waiting lists, due to the government’s measures intended to protect the community from exposure to Covid-19.
NSW attracts Australia’s highest number of international students, with the sector seeing losses in billions of dollars since the pandemic struck.
“I’ve had numerous discussions with the federal Treasurer around the importance of this, the premier is completely supportive and focused on ways in which we can bring this sector back,” Perrottet said.