CANBERRA, Nov. 27 (Xinhua) -- Australian Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton has denied that the government has let down more than 36,000 citizens who remain stranded overseas.
The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) revealed to a senate hearing Thursday that the number of Australians overseas who have registered to return home has grown from about 26,700 in September to 36,875 including more than 8,000 considered vulnerable.
On Friday, Responding to the data, Peter Dutton denied that the federal government had failed to bring people home, saying that international arrival caps set by state and territory governments was causing a bottleneck.
"Obviously it is difficult to get a flight. Obviously it is very hard to plan in circumstances where you've got to go into hotel quarantine and there is a cap on places for people to get back," he told Nine Network television.
"We are working day and night to get as many Australians home by Christmas as possible."
Thursday's senate hearing heard evidence from Australians overseas who said they felt "betrayed and abandoned" by the government.
Dave Jeffries told the inquiry that his family went to Canada in February to care for his mother and became stranded when their return flights in late March were cancelled.