Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment Dan Tehan has given an extremely strong show of confidence in international travel, telling Australians to expect the international border to open up by “Christmas at the latest.”
This is conditioned on travellers being fully vaccinated and Australia hitting milestone of 80% vaccination rate.
Mr Tehan told the National Press Club, “I do empathise with the Australians who have been denied the opportunity to travel overseas this year.
“It’s another reason why everyone should get vaccinated and we have to stick to the national plan that will see our international border open up.”
“At this rate, by Christmas at the latest.”
Mr Tehan says that once Australia hits that magical 80% figure, restrictions will be severely relaxed from what we’ve become accustomed to.
“People will be able to freely travel outside of Australia with no restrictions or no limitations.”
“Obviously it will be dependent on the requirements that are put in place of the countries that they are travelling with but outbound travel opens up.”
Mr Tehan also spoke on developments in Australia developing further travel bubbles, which would allow Australian’s to go overseas and return without facing any quarantine requirements.
“If Australians are heading to specific countries that we have travel bubble arrangements in place… there will be not the restrictions on 14-day quarantine that would otherwise by the case for people returning to Australia.”
“Now, exactly what those quarantine arrangements would look like will depend ultimately on the negotiations with the travel bubble of the particular country.”
However, this 14-day quarantine will hopefully not be the two weeks of hotel living that you might be picturing, with South Australia currently trialing home quarantine for fully vaccinated Australians returning from overseas.
“One of the hopes that we have, especially in the lead-up to Christmas, is we’ll be able to see states and territories putting in place home quarantine arrangements for returning Australians and they would be able to quarantine at home.”
Mr Tehan also commented on the use of vaccination passports.
“Our vaccine certification QR Code system has been sent to all of our overseas embassies so we can begin that engagement with overseas posts and overseas countries on making sure that it will be interoperable.”
“We continue to do that preparatory work so when those international borders open, and as I said in my speech, hopefully at the latest by Christmas, that Australians will be able to travel with a QR Code linked to their passport which will be able to show a proof of vaccination.”
Currently 48.5% of those aged 16 and older are fully vaccinated.