Major change to borders will reunite families for Christmas
Scott Morrison may have put a damper on any plans to have tourists return to Australian shores but a major change to the definition of families will boost morale as borders reopen.
On Friday, NSW Premier Dom Perrottet caused chaos after he announced his state would reopen for tourists from November 1, a plan Mr Morrison promptly slapped down.
But he flagged a major change to the definition of families was on its way, to allow vaccinated parents of Australian citizens and permanent residents to be reunited without having to quarantine.
“I also want to note that at the National Security Committee where we considered these matters on Tuesday, we also agreed that we would be looking at expanding the definition of immediate family to include the parents of Australian residents and citizens,” he told reporters in Sydney.
“I know that will be very welcome news to Australians right across the country who were hoping to be reunited with their family members, their parents who are overseas.”
Under the current definition, an immediate family member is considered to be a spouse, de facto partner, a dependent child or a legal guardian.
The change could see thousands of families reunited for the Christmas holidays.
Mr Morrison’s concession followed hours of speculation that international travel into Australia could be on the cards after Mr Perrottet seemingly blindsided the government by declaring his state would welcome tourism from November 1.
Under Mr Perrotet’s plan, hotel and home quarantine would be scrapped for vaccinated international tourists and returning Aussies.
The prime minister shortly after slapped down his state colleague, telling reporters Australians and permanent citizens stranded overseas would be the first cab off the rank to return.
“We are not opening up to everyone coming back to Australia at the moment. I want to be clear about that,” he said.
“It is for the Commonwealth and Federal Government to decide when the border opens and shut at an international level and we will do that.
“In the first instance it will be for Australian residents and their families. We will see how that goes.”
But the prime minister warned returning Australians who live in a state other than NSW, arrival caps would still apply.
“What this also means is we will be allowing Australians, permanent residents and citizens and their families, to leave Australia from wherever they live in Australia and return but obviously the capped arrangements in other states will continue because of the vaccination levels in those states and territories,” he said.
Originally published as Major change to borders will reunite families for Christmas
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