The Victorian government has rejected Tennis Australia’s claim that taxpayers will be footing part of the bill for Australian Open hotel quarantine.
Police Minister Lisa Neville, who is overseeing hotel quarantine, said the bill would instead be “sent straight back to Tennis Australia” after CEO Craig Tiley’s earlier remarks on Wednesday that the government would “absolutely” pay for part of the Aussie Open quarantine program.
“I did see Craig Tyler‘s comments, but I want to be very clear that hotel quarantine for the Australian Open is fully funded by Tennis Australia,” she told reporters on Wednesday.
“I’ve triple confirmed that again today.”
Ms Neville said plans for the state government to pay for the quarantine scheme had never been a part of pre-tournament negotiations.
“We are asking, for example, Australians who returned to contribute to the hotel quarantine costs, so it seemed appropriate to us that also tennis players, or the association, should contribute to their hotel costs,” she said.
About 1200 players and staff who are in Australia for the tournament are completing 14-day stays at the Grand Hyatt in Melbourne, the View on St Kilda Road, and the Pullman hotel in Albert Park.
Mr Tiley earlier on Wednesday said quarantining players and staff would cost more than $40 million, with the state government “absolutely” chipping in.
But he did not know how much the government contribution would be.
“That’s still to be determined because we’re still in the middle of that. Probably the end of next week or the week after we’ll know exactly,” he told Neil Mitchell.
“These quarantining costs are new costs. The state government is supporting us in that.”
Three more people associated with the Australian Open returned positive coronavirus results on Wednesday morning.
Among them was a player believed to not be infectious but shedding the virus. They will still be required to lockdown.
It brings the total number of positive COVID-19 cases associated with the Australian Open to 10.
The tournament is scheduled to start on February 8.