New hope for stranded Aussies

Tasmania will become a new international entry point into Australia, both for citizens stranded overseas and for New Zealand tourists.

The Prime Minister was in Hobart on Saturday to make the dual announcements alongside the state’s Premier, Peter Gutwein.

Three flights will bring 450 Australians back via Tasmania over the coming three months, the leaders said.

And Hobart Airport will also become equipped to welcome visitors from across the Tasman Sea, thanks to a $10 million state government contribution to a $17.5 million joint fund with the airport’s owners to spruce up the terminal’s infrastructure.

The Prime Minister promised a federal government investment worth $49.2 million to pay for about 30 Australian Border Force, Australian Federal Police and biosecurity officers at the airport.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison at the Salamanca Market in Hobart on Saturday. Picture: Chris KiddSource:News Corp Australia

The Prime Minister said the federal government was grateful for Tasmania’s offer to accept more returning Aussies.

“Premier Gutwein was very quick off the mark in our last (National Cabinet) meeting to say that Tasmania will be prepared to do their bit as part of the national effort, and we really appreciate that,” Prime Minister Scott Morrison said.

As for the tourist flights, the plan is to allow 130 flights over the next year from New Zealand. That would bring about 30,000 visitors.

“This will stand Hobart Airport in a good (position) to become the international gateway to Tasmania,” Mr Gutwein said.

The year-long tourism project will be subject to a review in January 2022. The route to New Zealand will be the first direct flight connection between that country and Tasmania since 1996.

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