Australia is planning for the return of international visitors with or without a vaccine, Scott Morrison says.
The Prime Minister has spent the week in Queensland spruiking the federal budget, which assumes Australians won’t travel overseas again until late 2021.
But Mr Morrison told 4CA radio that the government was in talks about how to get tourists, including international students, back to our shores.
“We’ve got a plan with or without a vaccine and that means we’ve got to start looking at ways to be able to have people come to Australia as safely as possible,” Mr Morrison said.
“We’ve already had discussions … with countries like Japan and South Korea.
“I‘ve spoken to both the current and former Japanese prime ministers about this.”
But he stressed talks were at a very early stage, adding “I wouldn’t want to raise expectations”.
“We’ll continue to progress that and ways that we can get start getting some of the international education business back as well,” Mr Morrison said.
“China have also done very well, Singapore is another one that I’ve mentioned that I think we can work with.
“We’ve got to proceed cautiously.”
Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Queensland Opposition Leader Deb Frecklington on the campaign trail. NCA NewsWire / Sarah MarshallSource:News Corp Australia
Mr Morrison said holiday-makers from New Zealand could have begun travelling to Queensland from Friday but won’t because the state government was still insisting on two weeks in quarantine.
“They’ll be going to NSW, they’ll be going to the Northern Territory, they’ll be going to the ACT,” he said.
“We’re opening up NZ visitors to Australia, and that’s the only thing that stands in the way.”
The Prime Minister reinforced that hard borders should only be in place for health reasons.
“I understand why the Queensland Government made the decision to have a border, but it should only be there as long as needed,” he said.
Queensland continues to stand by its coronavirus hot-spot definition, which involves zero cases of community transmission cases for 28 days.
Under the federal government’s definition, a hot spot is a place with an average of 10 cases over three days.
“A national hot-spot definition, which I think balances the economic and health interests, I think, wisely, is what is needed,” Mr Morrison said.
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