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Covid-19: Premier says 55 Kiwis travelled to Victoria

The Victorian Premier says 55 New Zealanders have entered Victoria – not 17, as previously reported.

Australia's Victoria state premier Daniel Andrews speaks during a press conference in Melbourne on July 15, 2020, as the city battles fresh outbreaks of the COVID-19 coronavirus while under lockdown.

Victoria state premier Daniel Andrews Photo: AFP

In a press conference today, Andrews said Victoria authorities had been alerted to the increased number of breaches by Australia’s federal government.

While 17 breaches had initially been reported, it has now been revealed that 55 Kiwis travelled to the state.

Andrews said that 23 of the travellers had been tracked down, at 16 addresses.

“So this is “gold standard”, apparently, according to the Federal Government. “Gold standard”, a term that has been used quite a bit,” he said.

The acting federal immigration minister Alan Tudge had previously blamed the state government for not restricting interstate travel, which allowed the New Zealanders to breach the established travel bubble.

According to the Andrews, Victoria had not wanted to be in a travel bubble with New Zealand.

“So the very fact that we have done what the Prime Minister wants us to do and keep our border open, then we get asked, do you want to be in a New Zealand bubble and we say no, and now we find we are, so, we would actually be better off if we had done what the Federal Government has criticised every day and twice on Sundays for months, close our borders,” he said.

“There will be a time when of course we do and hopefully we get the reciprocal arrangement and Australians can go to New Zealand, although I would be commending all Victorians to stay in Victoria and spend up big in Victoria rather than going to New Zealand.”

Yesterday, Andrews said officials had “absolutely no power” to detain the travellers from New Zealand.

“Our officers have absolutely no power to stop someone, to detain someone in those circumstances, particularly given they were coming from a very low-virus part of the world,” he said.

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