The HUGE changes coming to Australia’s travel restrictions in a matter of weeks as states vow to open by Christmas – but international travel is still off the cards
- Scott Morrison announced massive changes for Australia’s travel restrictions
- Plan in place for domestic travel to restart with border restrictions eased
- WA is the only state not involved in the plan which will happen by Christmas
The PM: Scott Morrison pictured on Thursday wearing a new mask with the Aussie flag
Scott Morrison says huge changes are on the way for Australia’s travel restrictions but insists international routes are off the cards.
Speaking after National Cabinet on Friday, the prime minister revealed most states and territories had agreed ‘in principle’ to reopen their borders by Christmas – with the exception of Western Australia.
‘We agreed in principle with the reopening framework for Australia by Christmas,’ Mr Morrison said.
‘By Christmas of this year, certainly seven of the eight states and territories will be open and you never know, it might be eight.
‘Importantly, this plan not only details the opening of the various activities within the economy and our community and society … an important part of this plan is it includes the necessary actions to support a public health response.’
WA premier Mark McGowan, who faces an election in March and has gained popularity with his hard border closure, refused to take part in the plan.
Mr Morrison said WA’s decision was based on economic concerns.
Each state will have different open dates. National Cabinet will continue to develop the framework when it next meets on November 13.
On 16 October Australia removed quarantine requirements for travellers entering the country from New Zealand. Pictured: A family is reunited at Sydney Airport
State and territory border restrictions have been in place since April, keeping thousands of Aussies separated from their friends and family in other parts of the country.
In early September, the prime minister gave a speech urging premiers to open up, saying he feared they were forgetting the federation and ‘retreating into provincialism.’
‘Australia was not built to have internal borders. In fact the very point of federation was not to have them. That was the point of Australia,’ he said.
‘We must be one and indivisible as a nation. We must be Australians first and we must not allow this crisis to force us to retreat into provincialism. That’s not the answer.’
A Qantas plane carrying repatriated Australians is seen at Darwin Airport in Darwin on Friday
The prime minister has also announced caps on returning travellers will increase by 300 next month with WA taking an additional 140 passengers in November and Queensland taking an additional 150 international arrivals.
There are about 30,000 Australians still stranded overseas.
‘I think what is important is what we are signalling to the community… we are already moving forward to try and solve these problems, so we are being proactive about it,’ Mr Morrison said.
Scott Morrison has announced massive changes on the way for Australia’s travel restrictions
State and territory border restrictions have been in place since April, keeping thousands of Aussies separated from their friends and family in other parts of the country (Pictured: Passengers queuing to check in for flights to Queensland at Sydney Domestic Airport in July)
The first steps towards international travel have already begun with New Zealanders allowed into Australia under a one-way arrangement (Pictured: A passenger arriving back at Sydney’s Kingsford Smith Airport)
The domestic aviation shutdown over the past seven months had cost $17 billion, while the figure for international flights was $61 billion.
About 34,000 people have been affected by job losses and furloughed positions, with the nation’s two major carriers laying off around 11,500 employees.
The first steps towards international travel have already begun with New Zealanders allowed into Australia under a one-way arrangement.
What are the border restrictions?
New South Wales: Exemption required if coming from VIC
Victoria: No restrictions
Queensland: Exemption required if coming from NSW and VIC. Due to open to NSW on 1 November
South Australia: Exemption required if coming from VIC
Tasmania: Will open to SA, WA, QLD, the NT and the ACT on 26 October and to NSW on 2 November. Exemption required if coming from VIC
Western Australia: Exemption required from anywhere
ACT: Exemption required if coming from VIC
Northern Territory: Victorians must quarantine at their own expense
Australia: Only people who have been in New Zealand for 14 days can enter without hotel quarantine