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NSW government issued debt recovery orders against returning travellers

The staggering proportion of people who haven’t paid their bill for hotel quarantine has been revealed with debt collectors now being used in some cases.

Outstanding debts from mandatory stays in NSW hotels amount to $27 million, figures released to ABC News under freedom of information laws reveal.

Out of the debts, 644 invoices totalling more than $2 million are so overdue that authorities have issued debt recovery orders, which empower officials to take actions like seizing property and taking a cut off wages.

The figures also show just 4156 out of a total of 43,684 returnees have paid their debts for hotel stays. That’s just under 10 per cent.

However, more than half of those who have returned to Australia since the government began charging for hotel fees have been exempt from paying.

Camera IconPremier Gladys Berejiklian and Tourism Minister Stuart Ayres imposed fees on hotel quarantine stays in mid-July. Credit: News Corp Australia, NCA NewsWire / Jeremy Piper

They include defence force personnel and travellers who were in transit, and the waivers given to them cost the government more than $31 million.

The government footed the bill for all quarantine hotel stays until mid-July, when a $3000 fee was introduced.

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