Tourism

DFAT establishes hardship fund for Aussies trapped overseas

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) has established a hardship program to provide emergency assistance loans to Australians trapped overseas.

Foreign Affairs Minister Marise Payne said the program, which adds to the department’s existing ‘Traveller Emergency Loans’ program, would be established to support Australians who are struggling financially and cannot get home.

According to Smartraveller, the loans come in the form of one-off payments toward living costs and provide up to $2,000 for an individual, $3,000 for a family of two, $4,000 for a family of three, and $5,000 for a family of four.

Special consideration will also be given for families larger than four. As long as one of the parents is an Australian citizen, the whole family will be considered for assistance.

However, applicants for the hardship program will have to meet strict eligibility criteria to access a living costs loan (which you can check out here), and only the “most vulnerable Australian citizens” still overseas will be provided financial assistance.

All loans must also be repaid upon return to Australia within six months, according to Smartraveller.

The news comes as today’s National Cabinet meeting is set to discuss whether to relax the current cap on international arrivals, which has resulted in thousands more Australians needing to get home than just two weeks ago, according to The Age/The Sydney Morning Herald.

While critical to the integrity of Australia’s quarantine system and the safety of the whole Australian community, Senator Payne said the caps have restricted the availability of flights home for Australians overseas.

“The government, including through our embassies and high commissions around the world, continues to work with airlines and other governments to help Australians return on commercial flights,” Senator Payne said.

“Consular officials are also assisting Australians overseas impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.”

According to The Age/The Sydney Morning Herald, DFAT estimates there are around 23,000 Australians eager to return home, up from a reported 18,800 two weeks ago.

Many of those stranded – thought to be at least 7,500 people – are stuck in India, while significant numbers are also stranded in the Philippines, South Africa and Vietnam, SBS Hindi reported.

The cap on international arrivals of about 4,000 returned travellers per week has created a major backlog, the Fairfax news outlets reported, with airlines prioritising business and first-class passengers to remain profitable and planes carrying as few as four economy passengers.


Featured image source: iStock/PeopleImages

SEE WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING

Leave a Reply

Aviation

Aviation Wrap: Virgin Australia sale update, United makes COVID-19 tests available to customers + MORE

It’s been a landmark week for carriers near and far. Lucky for you, our Aviation Wrap continues to keep you abreast of the latest in this space.

Share

CommentComments

Destinations

Tourism Australia reminds international travellers what’s waiting for them with incredible new ‘8D’ videos

These incredible new vids could also come in handy for agents looking to woo some domestic clients.

Share

CommentComments

Travel Agents

TravelManagers helps Victorian agents find temp work

A group of TravelManagers agents have found an alternative way to earn money during the COVID-19 pandemic, with a little help from the network’s national partnership office.

Share

CommentComments

Destinations

South Australia is giving away 200 return flights (and some holiday packages) to NSW travellers

In celebration of South Australia easing restrictions to NSW travellers, 200 return airfares and a handful of holiday packages are up for grabs.

Share

CommentComments

Travel Agents

Corporate Travel Management emerges from trading halt with big acquisition

Jamie Pherous has reason to smile after CTM announced it has caught a very big fish.

Share

CommentComments

Destinations

Sun seekers will adore these Malaysian islands of Terengganu

by Sponsored by Tourism Malaysia

Along with drawing locals in for its culture and cuisine, Terengganu’s secluded islands and beaches are a paradise for sun seekers. Here’s all you need to know about this lesser-known Malaysian state.

Share

CommentComments

Hotels

Luxury floating hotel docked at Sydney’s Palm Beach burns down

In sad news for those looking for lush stay at Sydney’s northern beaches, Lilypad was “irreparably damaged” when a fire recently broke out on board.

Share

CommentComments

Aviation

Man charged after joking his cousin had a bomb on Auckland flight

Unsurprisingly, it is STILL a bad idea to joke about bombs when you are boarding a plane, just in case anyone was wondering. We hope you weren’t.

Share

CommentComments

Cruise

Aussie food suppliers jump on board calls for resumption of cruising

Aussies farmers, beverage companies, transport providers and all the others who fill cruise ships and land excursions with all those delicious goodies have banded together to support the cruise industry.

Share

CommentComments

Destinations

Destination Wrap: LA launches trade page, Spanish tourism board’s new Australian director + MORE

In the dark after a weekend away from travel news? Check back in with this breakdown of the latest destination updates.

Share

CommentComments

Tourism

Regional tourism receives $250 million cash injection

The government has given regional tourism operators a reason to jump for joy this morning, and caused two industry associations to give such an aggressive thumbs up that they are both now suffering from pulled muscles in their hands.

Share

CommentComments

Cruise

P&O waves goodbye to “the backbone of the Australian cruise industry”

P&O Cruises has bid a tearful farewell to one of Australia’s most iconic cruise ships earlier than expected.

Share

CommentComments