AFTA welcomes Albanese Govt’s passport delay response

Additional resources called in to deal with processing backlog

The Australian Federation of Travel Agents (AFTA) has tonight [8 June 2022] thanked the Albanese Government’s rapid reaction to address current delays in passport applications for Australian travellers.

AFTA welcomed the new Australian Government’s move to create an additional call centre to handle the overload which has seen the time it takes to renew or obtain an Australian passport blow out, reportedly, up to 12 weeks.

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In a statement, AFTA said it “appreciates the support and responsiveness of Foreign Affairs Minister Senator the Hon Penny Wong, Tourism Minister Senator the Hon Don Farrell, and Assistant Foreign Affairs Minister the Hon Tim Watts.

“An additional call centre is being set up with an initial 35 staff on deck this week with 35 more to be added next week and a minimum additional 250 staff over the next six months to address the current pressures and delays.”

There has been a surge in applications and renewals from the pre-COVID levels of 7,000-9,000 applications to the current 10,000-12,000 per day. Tuesday saw a record 16,417 applications lodged.

Dean Long, AFTA CEO said the additional delay in approval and delivery times for both new applications and renewals has created significant stress for travelling Australians and travel agents.

“Our members have been dealing with a rapid uptick in bookings from the moment the international travel ban was lifted.

While we have consistently advised throughout the past couple of years that anyone with less than six months on their Passport to start the renewal process, many Australians decided to let their passports lapse until they could travel again.”

Dean Long, AFTA CEO

“It’s not only been the stress of not knowing and the delayed approvals and delivery. Unfortunately for some, the non-arrival of their Passport within the stated timeframe has meant not only rescheduling but, in some cases, cancellations.”

“While the situation will eventually level out, these additional resources will go a long way towards solving the current problems,” Long said.

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