More international arrivals into Western Australia from next week.
Scott Morrison has announced the agreement between States and Territories to lift the number of travellers arriving from overseas.
Latest figures show about 24,000 Australians currently overseas are trying to get home, with Australia allowing in just 4,000 each week.
But that number is set to increase by 2,000 after a National Cabinet agreement today.
Despite Mark McGowan blasting the Federal Government for not properly consulting with States before announcing flight caps would be lifted, WA has signed on to the deal.
Mr Morrison confirmed WA’s cap of 525 a week would be increased by 200 from September 27.
It would then go up to 1,025 by October 11.
“Western Australia will be… increasing the number that they’ll be taking and I welcome their support for that today,” he said.
“This is going to help Australians get home.”
Other major ports have also agreed to lift their caps.
NSW will move to take an additional 500 extra people on September 27, and Queensland will follow WA’s lead and take on an extra 200, before taking on another 300 in October.
Extra ADF support and contact tracing
WA Health Minister Greg Hunt said today WA’s quarantine system was at its “limit” without further support by Federal agencies.
But Mr Morrison said States would have access to support from the Australian Defence Force.
“(There is) the express guarantee of support, which I’ve always been happy to provide, which was ADF assistance in that task,” he said.
“So, we’ll be focusing much more of our ADF support on that quarantine assistance in those jurisdictions.”
Mr Morrison said international flight caps would be lifted further within the next six to 12 months.
“Let’s get to this next level, and then ultimately we’d like to see those caps lifted, as they were back in early July, that would be my goal and we’ll work towards that goal and get there as soon as we can,” he said.
He also announced “mandatory data collection” on domestic flights to improve contact tracing as more people begin travelling interstate.
“From October 1, part of the mandatory manifest information will be name, email address, a mobile contact number, and a state of residence,” he said.
“That will be arranged with the major airlines, with the Department of Infrastructure, and those arrangements are being put in place now.
McGowan welcomes staged approach but says WA “still at risk”
WA Premier Mark McGowan said the “new approach” to increasing flight caps in a staged way was “more manageable”, and ruled out Rottnest being required for quarantine.
“It (lifting flight caps) still does present a risk to Western Australians,” he said.
“WA health and WA police will work through this over coming days and weeks so we are fully and totally prepared. We will need to stand up an additional hotel, at least, in the near future.”
He welcomed further support from Federal agencies.
“I’m glad the Federal Government agreed to provide more Australian Defence Force support and adjust the earlier decision that they made,” he said.
“This is why the National Cabinet is important, so we can come to decisions by working together and I would like to thank the prime minister for working with us on this.
” We will do what we can to help bring stranded Australians home safe.”
Watch: WA Premier Mark McGowan, Health Minister Roger Cook and Police Commissioner Chris Dawson address the media following National Cabinet
Feature image: AAP Photos / Richard Wainwright