Queensland repeats vow to dodge NSW hotel bill
“I just want every state to appreciate that and pay up. We’re not asking for much, we are just asking for what we’re owed. It’s not even the dollars, it’s the principle.”
But Mr Miles said NSW was yet to cough up the money it owed Queensland for accommodating NSW residents.
“I think them sending us an invoice was a bit of a stunt, but we will not be falling for it, and we will not be paying for it,” he said.
“The NSW government still owes Queensland $20 million for healthcare delivered to NSW residents that they have refused to pay for.
“We also have not billed NSW for all of the NSW residents who have gone through quarantine here in Queensland.”
Mr Miles posted a video to social media of himself ripping up the quarantine invoice.
“There is an agreement in place that says they should fund those services and they have just flatly refused,” he said, referring to the healthcare bill.
While NSW is responsible for quarantining most Australians returning home during the pandemic, Queensland could take more if its Toowoomba quarantine centre was approved, Mr Miles said.
“I think we are now taking 1300 or 1600 a week and we will continue to do that, we could take more if we had a national quarantine centre,” he said.
“If you are a horse, or a dog, or a cow, then the Commonwealth government is responsible for your quarantine but if you are a person, all of a sudden they say that is up to the states.”
The invoice sent to the Queensland government said: “NSW quarantined 7112 arrivals during the above period who provided a residence address in your state.
“A further 4991 arrivals did not have an Australian address recorded and have been allocated proportionally across states and territories and are included in your cost allocation.”
Mr Miles questioned why Queensland taxpayers should “have to foot the bill when NSW can’t even get the address of the people they are billing us for”.
“I think the Morrison government needs to answer why they are allowing thousands of people to come back into the country, to jump the queue ahead of other Australians, who do not even have a residential address here in Australia.”
Lydia Lynch is Queensland political reporter for the Brisbane Times
Mary Ward is a health reporter at The Sydney Morning Herald.