More staff have been added to ease pressure on Australia’s passport office as the number of applications hit a daily record.

Assistant Minister for Foreign Affairs Tim Watts said 16,417 people had applied for passports on Tuesday, as COVID-weary Australians get bitten by the travel bug.

Mr Watts said the delays in passport applications and long waits to get in touch with the passport office were unacceptable.

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“To help deal with phone delays, we are standing up a new additional call centre with 35 staff this week and 35 more staff next week,” he said.

“And a minimum additional 250 staff will come on board over the next six weeks to process applications.”

Pre-pandemic, there were about 8000 passport applications a day.

“This problem was predictable and is the result of the previous government dropping the ball and failing to properly plan for the surge in passport applications when borders re-opened,” Mr Watts said.

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Peter Fray
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