A high-flying businessman was granted an exemption to Australia’s travel ban so he could pick up a new luxury yacht in Europe.
Jost Stollmann was given permission to leave Australia on May 29 after he argued he had unavoidable personal business in Greece.
The German-born Australian, who once hosted Prime Minister Scott Morrison when he was treasurer as the CEO of Tyro Payments, is now waiting for Australia’s borders to reopen to return.
An email obtained by The Sydney Morning Herald revealed the millionaire had flown to Trieste, Italy, in June to pick up a new ‘awesome’ 24-metre yacht, named SY ALITHIA.
He then sailed to the ‘charming and spiritual island of Patmos in the Greek Dodekanese’, the email read.
Mr Stollmann will also attend real estate projects while abroad and is not expected to return to Australia until 2021.
He will also cover any quarantine costs and has waived his rights to repatriation.
The 65-year-old mingled with Mr Morrison when he was appointed to the FinTech expert advisory group in 2016 and Greg Hunt when he was the minister for industry, innovation and science.
He has also crossed paths with former senator Arthur Sinodinos on a number of occasions.
Australians have been unable to travel internationally since March 25 due to the coronavirus pandemic, unless granted an exemption.
Exemptions are granted for urgent personal business, compassionate reasons or travel for critical business or industry.
In a statement the to the Sydney Morning Herald a Department of Home Affairs spokesman said: ‘Decisions by the ABF commissioner to grant exemptions for travel for compassionate and compelling circumstances must be balanced against the government’s intent for imposing the travel ban and the health risks posed to the Australian community by international travellers.’
However, they declined to comment on Mr Stollmann’s individual case.
The department received 104,785 travel exemption requests from citizens and permanent residents of Australia between March 25 and August 16.
A total of 10,942 of the requests were refused but 34,379 were granted by the ABF commissioner.
Micky Chung, whose grandmother was on her death bed in Hong Kong, was denied permission to leave the country to be by her side.
‘I’ve actually got an email saying we don’t believe this is urgent,’ he said, Nine News reported.
Mr Strollmann sympathised for people like Mr Chung as ‘the blanket overseas travel plan is not reasonable, not necessary and not proportionate’.
‘There is no right to restrict any Australian to visit his dying loved one in his last hour, to witness marriages and births with the nearest ones, to pursue educational and business opportunities abroad or whatever an Australian in his right deems essential, when the bio-security protection can be delivered by compulsory testing and quarantine measures,’ he said.