Queensland soldiers sent to Afghanistan to rescue refugees are reportedly unable to return home because a special exemption has not been approved.
Queensland soldiers sent to Afghanistan to rescue refugees are being held up in Dubai, reportedly unable to return home because the Palaszczuk government has not approved a special exemption to quarantine in the hotel system.
Sky News reports a government source as saying that an application had been sent to Queensland Health to bring the soldiers home, under the same model used by the National Rugby League to bring 100 wives and girlfriends to Queensland.
“It’s the same model … we’d find the hotels but we’ve heard nothing from Queensland Health,’’ the source said. “It’s pretty ordinary. Hopefully they can approve it sooner, rather than later.’’
The lack of a special exemption to the Australian soldiers is particularly harsh given similar exemptions have been made for Indian cricketers, as well as NRL WAGs.
A mother of one of the 40 Queensland ADF personnel stranded in Dubai told Sky News that she was “dumbfounded and disgusted’’.
“Apparently, according to Queensland Health, there is not enough room,” she said.
“They have put their lives on the line for this rescue. The Queensland government has given priority to the Indian women’s (cricket) team, the NRL players and their wives and girlfriends, over these heroes.
“It disgusts me that they have been kicked to the kerb.’’
The mother went on to say that the ADF personnel were being covid tested every three days and sleeping on the floor of a local gym.
“They are not worried about Covid-19. They are worried about hepatitis and cholera and they all have young families,’’ she said.
“Why are our heroes not being given priority over sports teams? If they are sent to Darwin they will have to do two weeks there and another two weeks (quarantine) in Brisbane.”
Ms Palaszczuk has been forced to apologise for allowing an NRL plane into Queensland, while others were banned.
Health Minister Yvette D’Ath has been approached for comment on the ADF ban.