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Australian State To Use Debt Collectors For Hotel Bills

The Queensland premier says she owes it to taxpayers to claw back unpaid hotel quarantine bills worth millions of dollars.

BRISBANE, Australia — The Queensland government has called in private debt collectors to claw back unpaid hotel quarantine bills worth millions of dollars.

The Queensland Government is the executive administrative authority of the Australian state of Queensland. The Government of Queensland, a parliamentary constitutional monarchy was formed in 1859 as prescribed in its Constitution, as amended from time to time.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk says she owes it to taxpayers to pursue people who have not paid for time spent in government-ordered quarantine.

Annastacia Palaszczuk is an Australian politician who has been the Premier of Queensland since 2015 and the Leader of the Labor Party in Queensland since 2012. She was first elected to the Legislative Assembly of Queensland for the district of Inala at the 2006 election.

Map of Queensland Australia

Most travelers have been required to pay for their own hotel quarantine since the middle of last year but only about half have paid up.

Figures from the beginning of this month show that only 44 percent of invoices worth AU$87.7 million ($66.32 million) have been paid in part or full.

Of all invoices issued, 18.4 percent are overdue, and 9.7 percent are significantly overdue.

These oldest outstanding amounts are the ones in the sights of debt collectors.

“We need to recoup that money. It’s taxpayers’ money,” the premier told reporters on June 23. Queensland Health said that until recently, it had chosen not to use debt recovery options.

“But given the financial burden on taxpayers, this has now become necessary,” the department said in a statement.

“Queensland Health will begin engaging a private debt collector to manage significantly overdue invoices in the coming weeks.”

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk says she owes it to taxpayers to pursue people who have not paid for time spent in government-ordered quarantine. (Dan Peled/AAP Image)

Queensland Health is a ministerial department of the Queensland Government responsible for operating the state’s public health system and is one of the oldest government departments.

Travelers who have started a repayment plan or who have a fee-waiver request pending will not be referred to debt collectors.

As per the reports, Queensland’s tourism industry is an AU$28 billion ($21.17 billion) industry for the state, with domestic and international visitors spending AU$54.2 million ($40.99 million) per day in the year ending June 2020.

The tourism industry, directly and indirectly, employs 234,000 Queenslanders — or 1 in 11 of all people employed in Queensland. Queensland’s Gross State Product (GSP) is estimated at AU$360.971 billion ($272.24 billion). Queensland represents and 18.2% of Australia’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of AU$1.985 trillion ($1.44 trillion).

(Edited by Vaibhav Vishwanath Pawar and Ritaban Misra. Map by Urvashi Makwana)

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