Just 10% of NSW quarantine bills paid

Less than 10 per cent of returned overseas travellers who have quarantined in a NSW hotel have paid their bill.

Documents obtained by the ABC under freedom of information laws reveal just 4156 of the 43,684 returned travellers put up in hotels in the last four months have coughed up the funds required to cover their stay. 

After footing the bill since March, the NSW government began charging $3000 per person for the mandatory two-week stay in guarded hotels from July 18.

Since September 11, travellers from Victoria coming to Sydney by air have also been required to pay for their quarantine.

More than half the 43,684 returned travellers put up in hotels since then have had their fees waived, costing the government more than $30 million in lost revenue.

Of the almost 20,000 people remaining, 4883 have not yet been billed and just 4156 have paid their invoices.

That leaves 10,910 travellers owing more than $27 million.

The documents also revealed that 644 invoices are so overdue that debt collectors have been engaged to chase down more than $2 million in outstanding fees.

In a statement to the ABC, a NSW government spokesperson said hotel quarantine was essential in protecting the state against COVID-19, and the fees are comparable to other jurisdictions.

“Quarantine fees are only a contribution to the overall cost incurred by the state and the NSW Government is not making a profit from the quarantine program,” they said.

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian has for weeks been asking other states to accept more travellers or contribute to the cost of keeping them in NSW.

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