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Spirit stuff-up: essentials detained, cars impounded

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There are claims bureaucratic bungles are resulting in essential travellers being allowed onto the Spirit of Tasmania in Melbourne, only to be rejected in Tasmania and sent home.

Ian Sayer says his son was cleared to embark the ferry on Monday after personnel declared his essential traveller exemption valid.

Mr Sayer imports ceramic glass for woodheaters into Tasmania. 

But on arrival in Devonport yesterday morning, his son had his car impounded and was taken to a quarantine hotel in Launceston, before being allowed to return to the boat and leave the state last night. 

Speaking on Tasmania Talks, Mr Sayer says his nerves are shot after the debacle. 

"They put him on a bus with 35 other people, which just flies in the face of social distancing...three other people off the Spirit who had also been granted status but had been turned back...took them to a motel in Launceston."

"Obviously he would not have got on the boat if he had known he was going to get to the other end and have to go through what he had to yesterday," he told Aaron Stevens. 

"The people we were speaking to - and God knows I made about 50 different calls yesterday - I thought, 'Someone will see commonsense here', but no one did...it's just totally ludicrous." 

The State Control Centre has not addressed Mr Sayer's claims that people who have no chance of being admitted to Tasmania are being waved onto the boat in Melbourne. 

"On Tuesday morning, a Victorian traveller arrived on the Spirit of Tasmania. The person had an Essential Traveller exemption which was granted on 30 June, prior to the implementation of additional restrictions on arrivals from Victoria," said the Centre in a statement.  

"The man was from a COVID-19 hotspot in Victoria.

 "The man was directed to a quarantine hotel while his exemption was assessed under the new Directions. However he chose to return to Victoria on the Spirit that same evening."

Listen to Ian Sayer talking with Aaron Stevens on Tasmania Talks on Wednesday morning:

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