Scott Morrison hints tourists could be back in Australia by Easter
Tourism operators smashed by the pandemic have been offered a glimmer of hope, with the Prime Minister declaring he expects international borders to fully reopen before Easter.
Under current restrictions, only Australian citizens and permanent residents, their families, and those with certain visas and exemptions are allowed to enter the country.
Speaking with 4CA radio in Cairns, Scott Morrison made his hopes for the international border clear but stopped short of confirming a fixed date.
“Well I can’t give you a specific date yet … and that’s because we’re just watching how Omicron is sort of washing over the eastern states,” he said.
“I’d like to see us get there soon — certainly before Easter, well before Easter.”
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While the reopening won’t be “too far away”, Mr Morrison stressed it would be dependent on advice from medical experts.
“We’ve just got to get some medical advice further on that, a bit more work to do with the states to make sure we're comfortable about (reopening),” he said.
His border promise comes just a day after the nation’s largest business network issued an urgent plea for national cabinet to open up the borders for all international arrivals.
However, the US, UK and Europe have all issued warnings against travel to Australia because of the high cases of Omicron across the country.
The Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry said it was critical Mr Morrison took up the issue as a matter of priority.
“The international border has been closed to tourist markets for 678 days and counting,” chief executive John Hart said in a pre-budget submission.
“As a matter of priority, the federal government must expedite the reopening of our international borders to all fully vaccinated travellers, a move that will provide the tourism industry with confidence to resume their operations.”
Tourism Minister Dan Tehan has previously said the government will only open the border once “the health advice says that it is safe to do so”.
Originally published as Scott Morrison hints tourists could be back in Australia by Easter
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