Melbourne residents furious over last-minute Australian Open ambush

Furious apartment owners at the Westin Melbourne could potentially see the Australian Open delayed once again, after Tennis Australia announced the hotel would be exclusively used to quarantine hundreds of players.

Lodged by the owners of the Westin’s 36 penthouse apartments, the complaints state the influx of international travellers will pose an “unacceptable health risk to them and the broader community,” reports The Age and the Sydney Morning Herald.

The owners also state that hotel management failed to properly consult with the residents prior to the approval of the plan. Although the Andrews government approved the terms on December 18, residents were only notified via email on December 23.

One of the many high-profile apartment owners and retired investment manager Mark Nicholson called the plan “incredibly arrogant”.

“It‘s incredibly arrogant to ambush us this way as if it’s a done deal. There are substantive public health and legal issues that have not even been examined,” he told Fairfax.

Another resident, the prominent hotelier Digby Lewis even said he’d donate “$10,000 or $20,000” to help the legal fight.

“At 84, I‘m in the vulnerable group and it’s shocking the way they tried to ram this through without any attempt to consult with us,” he said. “I’m more than happy to toss in $10,000 or $20,000 to help the legal fight; it’s bloody shocking.”

The world’s best tennis players will be housed at the Westin Melbourne.Source:Supplied

With the Owner’s Corporation threatening a potential last-minute Supreme Court injunction, this could be the second delay faced by the Australian Open. The major tennis tournament was previously delayed to begin on February 8, with players expected to jet in from January 15.

Under the current plan, international players flying into Melbourne for the tournament will be required to quarantine at the Westin for the standard 14 days, however they will be allotted a daily five hour period for training and treatment.

All athletes will also be tested for the virus at least five during their quarantine period, use a separate entrance and lift to existing residents and will be under supervision when outside of their hotel room.

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