According to evacuees, they will have to pay $1000 and sign a waiver allowing them to be quarantined at the Christmas Island detention centre for up to 14 days.
After their stay on Christmas Island, they will be dropped off in Perth and have to pay their own way to their city of residence.
As fears escalated for the more than 600 Australians trapped in Hubei province, Qantas and the government were on Thursday locked in talks on how to execute the evacuation plan.
The design of the Christmas Island runway means the biggest Qantas plane available – the Boeing 747 – cannot land on the island with a full passenger load.
As of Thursday afternoon, the government was considering the option of transporting the evacuees to the Australian mainland – possibly Darwin – before transferring them to a military aircraft and then to Christmas Island.
“That’s all been rehearsed – the Army and Border Force have gone through all of that detail,” Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton said.
Mr Dutton defended the plan to send the Australian citizens to the detention centre.
“I can’t clear out a hospital in Sydney or Melbourne to isolate people,” he said.
The deliberations come after three Japanese citizens who returned from Wuhan on a government-chartered flight on Wednesday were confirmed to be infected with the coronavirus. The US has also expatriated citizens and will quarantine them at a military base in California for three days.
Australia has yet to receive any official clearance from China for the evacuation after Foreign Minister Marise Payne and China’s Foreign Minister, Wang Yi, discussed the operation on Wednesday.
“From a professional perspective, the World Health Organisation does not approve of the rush movement of personnel currently,” Mr Wang said after the conversation with Senator Payne, according to a report by Chinese state media.
“China will make every effort to protect the health and safety of all Chinese and foreign personnel in Wuhan, and is willing to maintain communication and co-ordination with Australia to jointly safeguard global public health security.”
Sydney physiotherapist Bon Lee, who is in Hubei province with his wife and 12-month-old daughter, said he was still not sure whether he would take up the government’s offer.
Mr Lee said he was concerned about hopping on a flight where he or his family could catch the virus from other passengers.
“I just want to keep my options open … The main thing is safety for the people, my family, my patients. I also need to weigh up risks of going to Christmas Island,” he said.
“It’s great for quarantine to be far away from everything, but if something bad happens, the closest hospital is in Darwin 2700 kilometres away.”
Mr Lee, who is about 300 kilometres from Wuhan, said DFAT had advised him that he and his family would likely need to make their own way to the city if they took up the offer.
“The roads are blocked – private vehicles can’t get there. I can’t get to Wuhan,” he said.
Melbourne resident Moko Yong has been trapped in the Wuchang district of Wuhan since January 21.
Mr Yong has been pushing the Australian embassy for consular assistance through a WeChat messaging group for Chinese-Australians trapped in Hubei. He said initial hopes of an evacuation had been dashed by the decision to send those trapped to the Christmas Island detention centre in the middle of the Indian Ocean.
He said he would reject the government’s offer of evacuation.
“Many people expressed that they cannot accept the destination of evacuation accounted for by Australia,” he said. “After all, Christmas Island, to many Chinese-Australians, we know what kind of place it is.”
Anthony is foreign affairs and national security correspondent for The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age.
Eryk Bagshaw is an economics correspondent for The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age, based at Parliament House in Canberra