One in five Qld hotel quarantine bills overdue
Taxpayers are owed millions of dollars in overdue hotel quarantine bills from domestic and international travellers who have entered Queensland during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Of the more than 20,000 hotel quarantine invoices that had been issued by Queensland Health as of February 26 this year, 4198 - or a massive one in five - remained overdue for payment.
The total cost of the overdue bills reached an enormous $11.96m - making the average unpaid bill about $2849.
New figures have also revealed that there were 6363 applications for quarantine fee waivers between July 1, 2020 and February 26, 2021.
Of those, 538 applicants were granted a full quarantine fee waiver and 29 applicants had the cost of their bills partially waived.
Health Minister Yvette D'Ath on Thursday night said the Government would continue seeking to recoup outstanding hotel quarantine invoices.
"Queensland Health seeks to recoup the costs of hotel quarantine through a range of measures, including payment plans," she said.
"All applications for quarantine fee waivers are considered on a case-by-case basis."
Ms D'Ath said since the pandemic was declared in January last year, 81,738 people had been through Queensland's hotel quarantine system.
"And this has helped to keep millions of Queenslanders safe," the Health Minister said.
"A safe and effective hotel quarantine system is Queensland's frontline of defence against COVID.
"The public health and economic cost of not having an effective hotel quarantine system far outweighs the cost of running that system.
"Because hotel quarantine poses challenges for returning travellers, multiple payment options have been made available."
In response to a parliamentary question on notice, Ms D'Ath said she had been advised that the hotel quarantine invoice system did not identify if the person was an international or domestic arrival.
The hotel quarantine system has been used to quarantine international arrivals, as well as interstate travellers when Queensland's borders have been shut to other states.
The fee for one adult to stay in hotel quarantine for 14 nights is $2800, while the bill for two adults in the same room for 14 nights is $3710.
Originally published as One in five Qld hotel quarantine bills overdue