Australian Minister Wants State to Open International Borders Dec. 17

By Caden Pearson
Caden Pearson
Caden Pearson
Caden Pearson is a reporter based in Australia, with a background in screenwriting and documentary. Contact him at caden.pearson@epochtimes.com.au
November 10, 2021 Updated: November 10, 2021

An Australian federal minister has called on the state government of Queensland to explain why it will allow fully vaccinated interstate travellers entry to the Sunshine State from Dec. 17 but not allow fully vaccinated international arrivals at that time.

Other Australian states, such as New South Wales (NSW) and Victoria, are preparing to welcome fully vaccinated international arrivals, without the need to quarantine, when they reach the 80 percent vaccination target, as per the national plan.

But Queensland has gone its own way and won’t open its borders to international arrivals until 90 percent of its eligible population is fully vaccinated, which is expected to be sometime in early 2022.

Meanwhile, Queensland expects to reach the 80 percent vaccination target on Dec. 17, just in time for Christmas, a popular time for travel.

“The State Government needs to explain the difference between a fully vaccinated person arriving from Sydney and a fully vaccinated person arriving from London,” said Federal Employment Minister Stuart Robert, who lives on the Gold Coast in Queensland.

“The premier loves to say she always follows the medical advice. If that’s the case, show us the medical advice that supports this decision,” he said, referring to Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk.

Courier Mail reported that Robert said modelling by the Doherty Institute, upon which the national reopening plan was based, said it was safe for Queensland to allow fully vaccinated international travellers into the state once the 80 percent vaccination target was met.

Meanwhile, the CEO of Flight Centre, one of Australia’s top travel booking sites, has said there doesn’t appear to be logic in the Queensland government’s plans, according to Courier Mail.

“If they have any logic for it, they should explain it. What’s the difference, particularly with the further restrictions,” Graham Turner said.

“If you’re bringing people from NSW and Victoria at 80 percent, what’s the difference in bringing back a fully vaccinated Queenslander from overseas. They will still get tested before they leave and after they arrive.”

But Queensland Health Minister Yvette D’Ath has remained committed to her state’s plan.

“We’re very comfortable with the plan that we’ve got, and we’re sticking with that plan,” she said.

But Queensland Tourism Industry Council boss Daniel Gschwind has called for a bit of “give and take.”

He noted that Queensland tourism operators would be complying with the state’s new sweeping rules that lock out the unvaccinated from almost all entertainment and hospitality venues, which the premier described as a protective measure for when the borders reopen.

“If we get on board with the program and put in all the protective measures that they are asking of us … it stands to reason we should have at least the reward of having international borders reopening,” he said, according to Courier Mail.

Caden Pearson is a reporter based in Australia, with a background in screenwriting and documentary. Contact him at caden.pearson@epochtimes.com.au