The Prime Minister has made a bold promise to Aussies stranded overseas once the country hits a key milestone in the Covid-19 vaccination race.
Scott Morrison has promised to help Australians stranded overseas return home once the country hits an 80 per cent double-dosed vaccination target.
Speaking from Washington DC following talks with leaders from United States, India and Japan at the Quad meeting, the Prime Minister said Aussies would be able to travel once 80 per cent of the eligible population had received both Covid-19 jabs.
But he could not guarantee all Australians who applied to return with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade would be able to come home by Christmas.
“We have been running more commercial flights and if we need to, we will (run more), but once we hit 80 per cent vaccinations, then that means Australians will be able to travel in those states that are opening up,” he told reporters on Saturday morning.
“They will be able to get on planes and go overseas and come home, and that means Australians who are overseas and who are vaccinated with the vaccines that are recognised in Australia will be able to get on planes and come to Australia.”
Mr Morrison said arrival caps for vaccinated Aussies would be lifted.
“That means there will be the commercial demand for those flights to be put on,” he said.
“I don’t think Qantas will have to be encouraged to start running those flights and putting people on seats, and I’m looking forward to them getting on with that job, because that’s the business they are in.”
Mr Morrison also said climate change and clean energy was discussed in the meeting.
“When it comes to climate there was a real sense of resolve, and not just about the ‘if’ question but how we can support particularly developing countries within the Indo-Pacific to get access to the clean energy technology that enables them to transition their economies, just like Australia is seeking to transition our economy,” he said.
The PM said a clean energy supply chain summit would be held next year in Australia.
“A road map would be developed over the next 12 months that can see how we can combine the best scientific knowledge, industry knowledge and academics coming together to ensure we can transfer our energy technology to clean energy technology,” Mr Morrison said.
The PM arrived in the US early this week to discuss with US President Joe Biden the contentious nuclear-powered submarine decision, as well as the Quad meeting.