We try and steer clear of direct discussion about the thing, but the notion that state governments could start charging returned overseas travellers for their own quarantine is one issue I could not let go by.
Queensland looks like it’s leading the way by slugging people up to $200 a day for the privilege of being shunted into a hotel after returning from abroad.
New South Wales also looks like it could be looking at trying to recoup some of the costs, but at least in NSW, they can justify it on the basis of having the nation’s busiest international airport, which most airlines make their default location.
I have to ask though, is this justifiable?
Why should government be charging people for being forced to do something they don’t want to do?
This isn’t like paying to register your car.
You have the choice to not drive.
But when the federal government has spent so long telling Australians based overseas to return home, how can the states then justify their efforts to reach into the pockets of people who are basically acting on the orders of, as some politicos refer to Canberra, “club fed”?
This is not something many people have control over.
Other nations have taken the approach of not providing non-residents of any income support as large swathes of the economy are shut down, just as Australia has, and that’s their right.
When people can voluntarily leave a location, I understand the logic in charging.
But when governments give orders, should it not be up to them to bear the cost?
Thankfully here in SA this is not the case.
Mind you, there aren’t a huge number of international travellers arriving in SA, so I get why the charges wouldn’t be too high.
But I think it’s only reasonable that, if you’re going to be forced to do something, you’re paid for it.
Especially when it’s government telling you to do it.