Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews lashed out at the federal government over New Zealand travellers flying to Melbourne from Sydney, as the state’s Covid cases continue to dwindle.
Mr Andrews has reiterated that he currently he wants no part of the travel bubble that started on Friday with New Zealand as he revealed 55 Kiwis have apparently turned up in his state after landing in NSW, not the 17 that was initially reported.
Speaking to reporters on Sunday, Mr Andrews said the state has been able to track down 23 of the travellers.
"We have been given a list, 12 hours after they arrived. We are ringing them, one of them was in Byron Bay and yet we were told they had landed and travelled to Melbourne," he said.
"Seriously, my advice to [Acting Immigration] Minister Tudge is, instead of stubbornly defending this, work with us and let's make sure Victoria is not part of a bubble we never agreed to be in.”
Mr Tudge had insisted Victorian Chief Medical Officer Brett Sutton was at the meeting where authorisation was given for individuals who arrived in Sydney from New Zealand to then travel to Victoria
"So the Victorian government was present when it was discussed, they were made aware that this was going to occur, they raised no objections in the meetings," Mr Tudge told reporters.
However Mr Andrews said the minister should have a conversation with his “boss”, Scott Morrison.
“He should have a conversation with the Prime Minister, who, I have lost count of the number of times he has said to me, thank you for not closing your border,” Mr Andrews said.
The premier reiterated he did not want to shut the state’s border, but he could not have “people wandering into the place from another country”.
Due to the arrival of the New Zealanders, Mr Andrews said authorised officers are now at the airport.
The premier also said he wants the situation fixed and despite the war of words, he doesn’t want a “quarrel” with the federal government.
“We are going to follow up as much as we can,”Mr Andrews promised.
“But I don't control the borders and I don't control what happens at Sydney Airport and I don't think anyone can reasonably expect me to.”
The situation is “fixable” Mr Andrews said, though he admitted it was not ideal, yet he called for unity in finding a solution.
New Zealanders fly into WA despite no travel bubble arrangement
On Sunday, Western Australia Police confirmed 23 people arrived in the state, despite the state not taking part in the travel bubble.
It was previously reported 25 people had flown into the state.
“The number of people arriving from New Zealand has now been revised to 23,” A WA Police spokesperson said.
“They have been directed to centre quarantine for 14 days and in one case a child has been directed to self-quarantine in suitable premises.
“WA Police will continue to ensure that all incoming travellers are assessed and where approved entry to WA are directed to appropriate quarantine arrangements and conditions.”
"We would prefer better management of these arrangements, but this is something that happened that was outside of our control," Premier Mark McGowan said according to the ABC.
WA confirmed on Saturday two new COVID-19 diagnoses of crew members on separate bulk carriers.
One crewman aboard the Key Integrity docked at Geraldton tested positive while another aboard the Al Messilah offshore at Fremantle is also infected.
Outbreak teams have been dispatched to manage the situation alongside port authorities.
There are less than 20 active cases of Covid-19 in the state.
Andrews faces criticism from federal MPs
Many federal MP’s have taken shots at Mr Andrews, particularly putting pressure on him to ease Covid restrictions.
On Sunday, after just two cases were recorded in Victoria, the premier announced some restrictions would be rolled back.
From Monday Melburnians will be allowed to travel 25km from home, while there will be no limits on time spent away from their residence.
But businesses must wait longer for eased restrictions, with Mr Andrews confirming changes to retail, hospitality and "personal care" services won't change until November.
"I know and understand that not everything that everybody wanted is in the announcements I have made today," he said.
"I just make this point, I have announced today what is safe."
Just hours before the announcement, cabinet minister Karen Andrews joined an ever growing queue of federal Liberal MPs putting pressure on the premier to ease his restrictions.
"We hope that Daniel Andrews shows the leadership that is needed in Victoria," she told Sky News' Sunday Agenda program.
"Daniels Andrews actually has shown himself to be a lockdown leader, we actually want that to change."
Previously, federal health minister Greg Hunt urged the Victorian government to ease restrictions in line with NSW.
However Mr Andrews accused him of "playing games", before adding that he would not be rushed in reopening Victoria.
Federal Labor front bencher Tanya Plibersek was unimpressed with the comments made by her Liberal counterparts.
"I think it's actually really gross that federal Liberal MPs are trying to use this as an attack on Daniel Andrews," she told ABC Insiders on Sunday.
"He hasn't done it for popularity, he's done it because he's considered it the right thing to do. The federal government ought to be looking at its own role in Victoria's difficulties including aged care.”
Do you have a story tip? Email: email@example.com.