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Woman sets the record straight amid controversy over New Zealanders entering Melbourne

Hundreds of people queue outside an Australian government welfare centre, Centrelink, in Melbourne on March 23, 2020. William West | AFP via Getty Images. Sketched by the Pan Pacific Agency.

MELBOURNE, Oct 19, 2020, 9News. A woman who travelled from New Zealand to Melbourne says the Victorian government is making them feel like criminals when they entered the state in “good faith,” 9News reported.

Sue, originally from Melbourne, took a domestic flight to Melbourne after landing in Sydney on the first flight of the trans-Tasman bubble on Friday. She booked the flights through a travel agent as she was desperate to attend her father’s funeral in Melbourne.

Sue told 9News the travel agent called the state’s Department of Home Affairs who advised she was able to enter from NSW due to Victoria’s borders being open.

“I got the news that my father had passed away, so I wanted to come to Melbourne for the funeral,” she said.

“I wasn’t sure whether I could come or not, so I went to a travel agent to book the flights.
“He rang up the Home Affairs and they said I could come, so I booked the flight.”

When she arrived in Sydney, she had her temperature taken by medical staff and then proceeded to the domestic terminal where she boarded a flight to Melbourne.

A number of COVID-19 regulations were announced on the flight.

Upon arrival, there was no border security preventing Sue from entering the state.

She was unaware anything wrong had occurred until her husband called her after seeing a news report about New Zealanders sneaking into the state.

“I received texts from my husband saying ‘did you make it or have you been detained?’ And I said ‘what are you talking about?’

“We just didn’t know if I was going to be asked to isolate, or whether I’d be sent back. It was really stressful.”

Premier Daniel Andrews today fumed over the 65 Kiwis entering from New South Wales, claiming the state had been forced into a travel bubble they did not want to be part of.

“We are not particularly pleased that we were asked the question, do you want to be in a bubble, and it turns out that even though we said no, we are,” Mr Andrews said.

But Sue reiterated today they had not done anything wrong or broken any border restrictions.

“We came in good faith, the agreement was there,” she said.

“We’re COVID free, we’ve done all the right things.

“We just really want to be here, and it made us feel like we were criminals – that we had done something wrong.”

Of the 65 travellers, 55 have been doorknocked by authorities to have the state’s COVID-19 restrictions explained.

Sue said the officials which visited her on Saturday evening were “nice” and just wanted to “check in”.
Mr Andrews today begrudgingly conceded Victoria was now apart of the trans-Tasman travel bubble whether they “agree to it or not”.

The state’s Department of Health and Human Services website says “Victoria’s borders are open” and travellers from New Zealand do not need to quarantine for 14 days upon arrival.

“If you are travelling from New Zealand and have passed all relevant immigration and biosecurity requirements as established by the Federal Government, NSW Government and Northern Territory Government, then you are able to travel to Victoria,” the website states.

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