The NSW State Government has issued over $107m in hotel quarantine bills but cash strapped returned travellers are having difficulty paying.
The NSW State Government has issued over $107m in hotel quarantine bills but cash strapped returned travellers are having difficulty paying.

Returned travellers refuse to pay $30m quarantine bill

The NSW government billed returned travellers a total of $107.5 million for the two weeks mandatory hotel quarantine since last July and one in 10 have not paid despite being issued with a debt notice.

Since July 18, 2020, overseas arrivals have been billed $3000 each for the mandatory two-week stay in Sydney hotels.

As of February 3, invoices valued at $107.5 million have been issued to 79,111 travellers since July 18, 2020 according to Revenue NSW information obtained by The Saturday Telegraph.

Of the $107.5 million in invoices issued, just over half - or $63.6 million - has been paid or waived and one in three have not paid with $28.4 million outstanding for more than 30 days.

Travellers have 30 days to pay before being issued a debt reminder notice and an additional 21 days to resolve.

As at February 3, $51.8 million has been paid or waived within 30 days of invoice issue, $9.2 million has been paid or waived on the reminder notice, and $2.6 million has been paid or waived after the debt recovery order was issued.

A total of $10.7 million is currently overdue with a debt recovery order issued.

Simon Michalak, who quarantined after returning from Finland, has been issued with a current debt notice but he is refusing to pay, claiming the charges are unconstitutional.

"They've sent the bill, I've just refused to pay it, I don't care," the Adelaide-based teacher said.

 

Hotel quarantine bill to a returned traveller.
Hotel quarantine bill to a returned traveller.

 

Simon Michalak is refusing to pay his bill.
Simon Michalak is refusing to pay his bill.

Tara Tubman lived in Hong Kong for 10 years and was made redundant last year. It cost her $20,000 to fly home and she quarantined in Sydney from November 30 to December 14 at a cost of $3000.

"It absolutely just wiped me out, I'm literally broke. I've used all my redundancy pay, it took everything, and I'm living with my dad," the 48-year-old said.

"It's an absolute outrage and I see a lot are being chased by debt collectors because they haven't paid yet, they are putting people in a terrible predicament."

Simon Michalak quarantined in Sydney in November and refuses to pay the bill. Picture: Supplied
Simon Michalak quarantined in Sydney in November and refuses to pay the bill. Picture: Supplied

Revenue NSW has warned incoming travellers that if invoices are not paid by the due date on the debt recovery order, they will institute enforcement action to recover the debt.

Fame and fortune have helped Hollywood heavyweights like Matt Damon and Nicole Kidman and her husband-singer Keith Urban make alternative quarantine arrangements in their luxury homes, but invoices have not been issued to 2278 returning Australian Defence Force personnel and 13,363 travellers who quarantined for less than 48 hours (in transit).

About 24,000 travellers had their fees waived on the basis that they purchased their airfare prior to 11.59pm on July 12. One invoice for $3000 has been revoked on hardship grounds

Originally published as Returned travellers refuse to pay $30m quarantine bill


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