The Victorian Premier has bumped heads with the Federal government after he said that international arrivals into his state will need to be tripled vaccinated.
The clash comes as the Federal Government announced plans to open Australia’s borders on the 21 February to double vaccinated international arrivals.
But on Tuesday, Andrews said that international visitors coming to Victoria will have to fall in line with rules applying to state residents. These rules include that those entering hospitality venues and major events to have had two doses and a booster shot.
“It’ll apply here, in the state of Victoria,” he told reporters when asked if the same rules would apply.
Andrews’ announcement also incensed Federal Finance Minister Simon Birmingham, who claimed that the Victorian Premier was fuelling uncertainty and should reconsider because the state could miss out on the economic boost those travellers will bring.
“It’s a really great breakthrough for Australia’s tourism industry to be able to say, ‘we’re going to let everybody in who has had a double dose’, (because) that is still the standard that is advised by our health officers,” Birmingham told the Today show.
“But to now have this sort of uncertainty cast across it is going to be a crippling blow to businesses that have been on their knees for two years now … (they) finally saw light at the end of the tunnel and now, of course, they’ve got this sort of uncertainty.
“I urge Daniel Andrews to reconsider, to back in the Commonwealth health advice and of course we offer anybody who comes to Australia, and anybody in Australia, the chance for a booster when they get here.”
National cabinet is still awaiting advice from the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisations (ATAGI) as to whether Australia would change it’s definition of fully vaccinated to someone that has also received a booster shot.
Andrews said on Tuesday that if advice from ATAGI regarding the definition of fully vaccinated was to change so would the position on fully vaccinated travellers.
“I’m sure the commonwealth government will reserve the right to change its view based on advice that comes from experts,” Andrews said.
“All the international evidence, all of the advice I get from our team is that three doses is what’s required in order to be as safe as can be.”
Australia’s borders will reopen to inbound travellers on 21 February after two years of being closed to the world.
“The condition is you must be double vaccinated to come to Australia,” Scott Morrison said of international arrivals to Australia.
“That’s the rule. Everyone is expected to abide by it.
“Your visa is one thing, but your entry into Australia requires you also to be double vaccinated. And I think events earlier in the year should have sent a very clear message, I think, to everyone around the world that that is the requirement to enter into Australia.”
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