Government announces financial support for Australians stranded abroad


The federal government has offered new loans to financially distressed Australians who are stranded abroad as airlines lobby the Coalition to relax the international arrivals cap.

Large numbers of Australians are unable to return home due to the scarcity of flights, rapidly rising ticket prices, the cost of quarantine in Australia and the international arrivals cap imposed by the federal government.

Only 4,000 people are allowed to enter the country each week, although that ceiling will be reviewed by the National Cabinet later this week.

Officials from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade said this morning at a parliamentary hearing that 23,000 Australians have now registered with the government to indicate that they wish to return home.

Two weeks ago that number was only 18,000.

Over 3,000 of these people are classified as “vulnerable” because they face health or financial problems.

Australia’s Airline Representatives Council estimates 100,000 Australians want to return home.(

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Government says aid is “a last resort”

Australians stranded abroad can already access emergency loans, but Foreign Secretary Marise Payne has now unveiled a new hardship program for “vulnerable Australian citizens” who can pass an eligibility test ” strict”.

Eligible persons will be able to apply for a one-time repayable loan to help cover living expenses. Individuals will be able to borrow up to $ 2,000 while families will be able to apply for loans up to $ 5,000.

They will also be able to apply for a one-time loan of up to $ 2,000 to help cover the cost of a return flight in economy class.

Foreign Minister Marise Payne told the Senate that aid was available “as a last resort”.

“The program we are announcing today will partially alleviate these challenges.

Many Australians stranded abroad have pressured the federal government to lift restrictions on those who want to return and say they have been overlooked and ignored by Australia.

Some Australian diplomatic representatives are also increasingly concerned about the emotional and financial toll of Australians stranded abroad.

The federal opposition accused the Coalition of abandoning stranded Australians, calling the loan announcement “an attempt to make headlines.”

The 23,000 Australians stranded abroad need more than empty announcements, they need a plan to get home, “said opposition foreign spokeswoman Penny Wong.

She said Labor would bring forward a motion in the Senate on Thursday calling on the government to increase quarantine capacity and consider setting up charter flights to help stranded Australians.

Foreign tourists check their flight information at Bali International Airport and almost all flights no longer work.
The federal government says strict limits are needed to prevent a compromised quarantine system.(



Some 100,000 Australians could be stranded abroad

Airlines have urged the federal government to lift the cap on international arrivals and relax mandatory quarantine provisions for Australians returning home.

Australia’s Airlines Council of Representatives said the caps had “created a large backlog of Australians seeking to return home” which they actually estimated at around 100,000.

“The caps also undermine the commercial viability of the remaining modest network of international flights to and from Australia,” the board said in a statement.

But the Foreign Secretary told the Senate that strict quarantine measures were needed to protect Australia from COVID-19.

“We recognize that national caps make it harder for people to return, but we ask Australians to understand that there is a balance that needs to be struck in these circumstances.”

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