2 October 2020

Tasmania to open borders to the ACT, trans-Tasman bubble begins

| Dominic Giannini
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Canberra Airport

Canberrans will soon be able to travel to Tasmania. Photo: Region Media.

Tasmania will open its borders to five “low-risk COVID states” – including the ACT – from 26 October. NSW has not yet been classified as a low-risk state.

“It’s important that we start moving towards welcoming back interstate visitors,” Tasmanian Premier Peter Gutwein said on Friday afternoon (2 October).

“Jurisdictions [in the bubble] are determined based on a number of factors including the period of time they have gone with low or no cases. At this stage, low-risk states include South Australia, Western Australia, Queensland, [and] the two territories.

“NSW is looking very promising as well but we will continue to keep NSW under advisement for the next week or so, but their progress has been very positive.”

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The opening depends on each jurisdiction remaining safe and low risk, Mr Gutwein said.

“If at any time the situation changes in these jurisdictions and the advice is that the risk is increasing or too high then we won’t hesitate to change this decision,” he said.

The announcement came just hours after a limited trans-Tasman travel bubble was revealed, with New Zealanders allowed to come to Australia without quarantining for 14-days from 16 October, providing they have not been to a hotspot in the preceding fortnight.

NSW and the Northern Territory will begin accepting arrivals from New Zealand from 16 October; however, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says it is still too early to allow Australians into New Zealand.

At this stage, Kiwis will have to quarantine when they return home from Australia.

Today’s National Cabinet meeting was postponed by a fortnight because of federal budget deliberations. Chief Minister Andrew Barr flagged that the next meeting would focus on border restrictions and repatriation flights.

Mr Barr is also working on opening up direct flights from Canberra to New Zealand, although opening the border to Victoria was still down the line, Chief Health Officer Dr Kerryn Coleman said.

The ACT would not move to open its border to Victoria ahead of NSW doing so, Mr Barr said.

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