The Queensland Government has copped a huge amount of heat from stranded Aussies after it allowed a chartered flight of NRL players’ families and officials to cross the hard border with New South Wales, and begin a 14-day hotel quarantine on Monday afternoon.

Queensland granted more than 100 exemptions to family members and league officials, allowing them to enter the state from Sydney, despite the government announcing a two-week pause on travellers entering QLD from interstate hotspots. The state’s public health orders also prohibit anyone to enter from NSW, unless they are an essential worker who has had at least one vaccine dose.

Per the ABC, a spokesperson from the NRL has confirmed that the flight of players’ partners, children, and league officials are not in the state government’s hotel quarantine program, but other hotels are able to be booked out entirely for the mandatory quarantine period.

This huge exemption to Queensland’s existing health orders has pissed off many who are currently unable to enter the state, with claims people cannot return home from funerals or give assistance to elderly family members due to the hard border and hotel quarantine pause.

Deputy Commissioner Steve Gollschewski told the ABC that as the NRL’s hotel quarantine has been organised by the league, it isn’t taking any state-run quarantine spots away from residents trying to return to Brisbane.

“When it comes to things like the NRL bubble,” he said.

“They are operated outside of the Queensland government hotel quarantine arrangement, so not part of our system.

“This is such a difficult time for all of our community, we understand that. But what I can give everyone is a guarantee that not one Queenslander or returning Australian is missing out on a spot because of those arrangements.”

On Monday, Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said that she was not the one to grant the exemptions to the NRL group.

“I didn’t grant the exemptions, the Chief Health Officer did,” she said.

The Premier was further pressured in the state’s Question Time on Tuesday morning about the double standards shown to NRL players’ families, when many QLD residents are currently stranded outside the state’s borders until September 9.

Image: Getty Images / Jono Searle