Australia’s PM has announced interstate travel could return in the next few months, but international travel is still off the table for the foreseeable future.
The federal government unveiled a three-step plan on Friday to gradually remove some COVID-19 restrictions, with Prime Minister Scott Morrison saying he hopes most of the country will be reopened by July.
The framework, which was unveiled last week following a National Cabinet meeting, outlines the staggered approach states and territories can take in easing restrictions based on their COVID-19 conditions.
Step one allows local and regional travel for recreation, step two encourages the consideration of interstate recreational travel depending on the situation in each state and territory, and step three allows interstate travel.
However, there is no mention of international travel in the new framework.
The timing of each step will depend on the state, Morrison said.
“States and territories are able to move between the steps on the pathway at different times, in line with their current public health situation and local conditions,” he said.
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has released a roadmap for the state with intrastate travel in the spotlight.
ABC News reported that Palaszczuk said the plan is for people to “be able to take a drive holiday within their region so that Queenslanders can back Queenslanders”.
The state will begin its phase one on Friday 15 May, which will see Queenslanders allowed to go on a day trip of up to 150 kilometres within their region (500 kilometres for those living in the outback).
Phase two, which is expected to roll out 12 June will allow recreational travel of up to 250 kilometres, with camping and caravan parks open for business.
Phase three, which will roll out on 10 July, all going to plan, will allow people to move around the state freely. The state will also assess whether interstate travel will be allowed at this stage.
New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian has been more hesitant, announcing regional travel will not yet be permitted.
“I also want to stress that unlike other states, NSW is not yet ready to have recreational holidays in regional communities,” she said, according to ABC News.
“We’re not ready to ease restrictions as much as other states have.”
Victorians will be allowed to go fishing, hiking and join walking groups from Wednesday, but it is not yet clear when interstate or intrastate travel will resume.
In South Australia, residents will be allowed to travel around the state from 11 May. Camping at national parks and reserves will also reopen for gatherings of 10 people or less. However, the state will not assess interstate travel until 8 June.
The Northern Territory lifted restrictions on parks and reserves including campgrounds on 1 May and is expected to lift all restrictions on businesses, facilities and services by 5 June, but does not plan on opening its borders from interstate travel any time soon.
Western Australia has removed some of its regional borders, allowing people to travel between areas previously prohibited, with restrictions removed between remaining regions expected to be lifted from 18 May.
Travel between Perth and other regions is still prohibited and interstate travel remains off the table.
Tasmania also looks as though it will remain hunkered down for the time being, with the state admitting it currently has no plans to open its tight border restrictions for the foreseeable future.
Tasmanians, however, will be allowed to visit national parks and reserves within 30 kilometres of their homes. By 15 June, camping and shacks will be allowed for up to 20 people.
The ACT has given no time frame as to when its travel restrictions will be removed yet.
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