Premier Andrews Concedes Kiwis Free to Enter Victoria

Premier Andrews Concedes Kiwis Free to Enter Victoria
Arrival from New Zealand at Sydney International Airport in Sydney, Australia, on Oct. 16, 2020. (David Gray/AFP via Getty Images)

Premier Daniel Andrews has conceded New Zealanders are free to enter Victoria despite the state not signing up to be a part of the trans-Tasman bubble.

About 55 Kiwis have travelled from Sydney on to Melbourne since the arrangement began on Oct. 16, with more expected to arrive on Oct. 19.

Some have also arrived in Hobart, Adelaide and Perth, where they will be required to undergo 14 days of hotel quarantine.

Andrews maintains the federal government did not inform him New Zealanders were entitled to travel beyond participating states and territories.

"People turned up without us knowing. People turned up without the WA government knowing. People turned up, I assume, without the Tasmanian government knowing," Andrews told reporters on Oct. 19.

"These bubble arrangements were presented very clearly as just that—a bubble—and that if you wanted to be part of it, you could."

"We said no, we don't think we should be at this time, however, it seems we are in it so we will make the best of it."

He said the Department of Health and Human Services' website had been updated on Oct. 18 night to reflect the situation.

"We will provide the best health advice because, despite the fact that we didn't want to be in the bubble, it seems like the bubble applies to every part of our country, not just those that said yes," Andrews said.

He said New Zealanders arriving in Victoria would not be required to quarantine due to the low number of coronavirus cases in their home country.

But they will have to comply with the state's coronavirus restrictions, which were eased on Oct. 19.

People living in Melbourne can now travel 25 kilometres from home and they have greater freedom when it comes to social activities and exercise.

Hairdressers and other industries can also operate for the first time in months, though retail and hospitality will have to wait until Nov. 2 before they can reopen.

Andrews said the date could be brought forward if case numbers remained low.

By Benita Kolovos