Push to make travel easier as states reopen | Liverpool City Champion

As more states and territories relax border rules, the federal tourism minister wants to make domestic travel easier for Australians.

South Australia has become the last COVID-19-free jurisdiction to reopen to ACT, NSW and Victoria.

Flights to South Australia from eastern states heavily affected by the virus resumed on Tuesday, while around 30,000 border crossing requests have already been submitted.

While some states have instituted border passes or mandatory nose and throat swabs as a condition of entry, Tourism Minister Dan Tehan said arrangements for cross-border travel should be straightforward.

“At the end of the day, we want Australians to travel to Australia like they did before,” he told Sky News on Tuesday.

“We want to be able to limit these new requirements that have been put in place, and the smoother our trips, the better.”

While South Australia has yet to reach 80% of the over-16s fully immunized, infectious disease expert Professor Robert Booy said the state was close enough to the milestone for travel be sure.

“When people arrive from a place, even if they are doubly vaccinated, where there is transmission, they will have to do tests before and after,” the University of Sydney professor told the Seven Network.

“So I think they’re taking a number of extra precautions, it’s not willy-nilly, (SA) is really thinking about it, so I’m not worried about them.”

NSW recorded 173 new cases of COVID-19 in the last reporting period as well as two deaths.

Victoria had one of its highest daily death rates from the virus with 19 deaths, while the state had 827 new cases.

Mr Tehan said international travel was set to expand, after the government allowed visa holders to return to Australia.

From December 1, international students, skilled workers and humanitarian visa holders can come to Australia from abroad without needing to apply for a travel exemption.

Tourists from Japan and South Korea will also be able to travel, following a similar travel arrangement with Singapore.

“These will help fill the gaps in our economy,” Tehan said.

“We’ve always said it would be a very systematic and planned reopening and that’s exactly what we’re doing.”

Australian Associated Press

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