NSW opens border, pressures other states to follow suit

NSW Premier, Gladys Berejiklian has announced that recreational trips across NSW are now permitted and visitors from other states and territories will be welcomed from 1 June.

This news comes as Federal Tourism Minister, Simon Birmingham urged states to open their borders for the busy June-July holiday period.

“Those states who’ve got border controls in place, assuming we’ve continued to see very low rates of transmission of COVID-19, ought to be looking at opening up their borders,” Mr Birmingham said.

However, the Queensland, Western Australian, Northern Territory, South Australian and Tasmanian borders remain closed—which may disrupt holidaymakers’ plans.

Queensland Premier, Annastacia Palaszczuk said she will not open the borders until her government gets the all-clear from health advisors.

“We want to see travel commence as soon as possible but it just depends on the rate of community transmission and when it’s safe to do so,” Ms Palaszczuk said.

“When my chief health office says people can come, people will come. But I am not the only state that has the borders closed.”

This has caused frustration with tourism operators and the NSW Government, with Premier Berejiklian responding to Queensland’s border policy.

“It doesn’t help Australia, it doesn’t help any of the states, and it doesn’t help our population, It doesn’t help economic activity,” she said.

Ms Berejiklian said lifting the holiday travel restriction will give everyone a much-needed break and help get small businesses and the tourism industry moving again.

“This is the day we’ve all been looking forward to since the COVID-19 travel restrictions were put in place earlier this year and I would like to thank everyone for their patience during the past few months of being cooped up at home,” Ms Berejiklian said.

“I must stress to everyone that, while we want people to enjoy a well-earned holiday, we must do this responsibly and continue to abide by physical distancing measures, as the last thing we want is further outbreaks that will force us to reintroduce restrictions.”

In a statement, the NSW Government said visitors from interstate are welcome, but should check to see if they can return to their home state without quarantine.

“Travellers from interstate will be able to visit NSW for a holiday from 1 June 2020 but will need to comply with the rules of their home state when returning,” the statement reads.