NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian revealed today that when the state hits its 80 per cent vaccination rates, she anticipates international travel will resume.
In a major elevation of the arguments between states over when to open up, Ms Berejiklian looked to be going it alone once NSW hits its targets – even saying returning Australians would be “welcome” to use Sydney Airport.
“I am really committed to making sure New South Wales residents have access to international travel once we get that 80 per cent double dose,” she said.
“Most importantly, I want every Aussie who wants to come home back to Australia to get back home for Christmas and if that means coming through Sydney airport, you are more than welcome.”
She also said that there will be changes to hotel quarantine, hinting that the requirements of re-entering into Australia will not be as strict as the current measures for those who are fully vaccinated.
The Premier was asked whether NSW would go alone on the international travel plan if other states or territories remained reluctant to open up.
“I suspect Victoria will be with us,” Ms Berejiklian said.
“I have not followed the case numbers today in Victoria but their path is not different to what NSW went through a month or two ago.
“I would hope the two largest states will lead the way (and) that all the state premiers do what we all signed up to.”
Ms Berejiklian was adamant she did not want the eight million people in NSW to suffer because other jurisdictions would not stick to what was planned in terms of the country’s path out of the pandemic.
“Victoria is turning the corner and accepting what the Delta strain. Between the two largest states, which has 65 per cent of Australia’s population, will be on the same page and move in the same direction.
“Our citizens will want to go overseas, and our citizens want to come back from overseas.”
She said that if other states were not willing to follow the national plan, she said NSW will go at it alone.
“If it means every Australian coming home comes through Sydney, so be it. We’ll welcome everyone home.”
The NSW premier said once 70 per cent of NSW’s population is fully vaccinated, she said there will be an easing of rules and regulations and “life will be a lot better”.
“You can expect to go out and have a meal, you can expect to attend a public event, you can expect to go and get services that you can’t expect now but obviously we’ll take a very responsible approach,” she said.
“We know that indoor gatherings or people coming to your home a high-risk.
“But outside of that if there are many, many things we can’t do now we should be expect to be able to do them when we have 70 per cent of the adult population vaccinated.