Australia’s border will stay shut until at least 2022, Treasurer Josh Frydenberg says.
His third federal budget assumes the Australian international border will open next year, but the government accepts that its strategy to eliminate COVID in favour of free travel will not be jeopardised.
But messages are still inconsistent, with Prime Minister Scott Morrison suggesting at the weekend that there was no desire to open international borders soon.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison said Sunday, Australians live like just a few others in the world and the government will do everything in its ability to prevent a third wave.
“International borders will only open when it is safe to do so. We still have a long way to go and there are still many uncertainties ahead,” he said on Facebook on Sunday.
Travel beyond Australia’s border is expected to happen in stages as more travel bubbles open with safe countries, Health Minister Greg Hunt said.
“Our goal is very simple, to progressively open as quickly as we can, subject to safety,” he said on Sunday.
“Green lanes, vaccinations and then the potential for those that have been vaccinated to be able to travel and return in different circumstances.”
But with the vaccination rollout running at “about 350,000 doses per week”, Australia’s adult population will not be fully vaccinated until 2023, opposition health spokesman Mark Butler says.
“Three weeks ago, Scott Morrison said there could be international travel and home quarantine by as early as July,” Butler told reporters on Sunday.
This is becoming a never-ending saga and the government can’t make up its mind, every week a senior official says something new about the borders reopening.
After many countries have been looking at Vaccine passport for a while now, PM Scott Morrison just announced that the government will start considering them now. There are also other options that the government should consider to open the borders safely, for instance, the ‘vaccine passport’ and a traffic light system that would guide travel restrictions and quarantine requirements.