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Australian abroad slams ‘appalling’ federal government failure which has left citizens stranded

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Australian passport

An Australian living abroad says the Commonwealth government’s failure to build dedicated facilities to accommodate returned travellers is “appalling” and has left Australian citizens locked out.

National cabinet is currently considering reducing the number of international arrivals permitted, as several states and territories battle COVID-19 outbreaks.

Founder of the Alliance of Australians Abroad, Jacinta Reddan, who lives in Hong Kong, says Australians who are overseas have “been locked out for many months now, in effect”.

“The international flight arrivals cap has effectively meant that most of us who live overseas, and there are hundreds of thousands of Australians living right around the world … can’t get back,” she told Tony Jones, filling in for Neil Mitchell.

“The fact that … 18 months into the pandemic, the Commonwealth government is still yet to build purpose-built facilities to accommodate quarantine is appalling.”

Ms Reddan has lived in Hong Kong for 14 years, but says she relied on being able to get back to Australia quickly if she needed to.

“If anything happened back home, any of us were only 20 hours or so from family,” she said.

“I had that terrible call from home about four months ago to say that my mother, who lives down at Geelong, had a stroke.

“Ordinarily I would have hopped on the next flight and been able to see her for a few days. I can’t do that. She’s recovering but it has left her legally blind.”

Ms Reddan says her daughter is due to begin university in Melbourne in February, but she’s not sure if she’ll get here.

“If you look at fully-vaccinated Australians like myself, coming from a low-risk destination like Hong Kong, why couldn’t we look at a combination of home quarantine and hotel quarantine?,” she said.

“We’d wear ankle bracelets, we’d do daily tests, whatever it takes.”

Press PLAY below to hear more from Ms Reddon on the plight of Aussies stuck abroad

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