Adding to what has already been a week of tearful reunions after Australia’s International border reopened on Monday, travel and tourism between the nation’s two most populous states has today opened up after Victoria lifted border restrictions with NSW since being closed in July.
NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet and Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews issued a joint statement highlighting the change, which came into effect on Friday.
Victoria has declared all NSW local government areas are now ‘green zones’.
This means there are no testing or quarantine requirements for NSW residents travelling to Victoria, although visitors still need to obtain a permit verifying they do not have COVID-19.
Unvaccinated Victorians are still not allowed into NSW for travel or recreation.
While unvaccinated people from NSW will not have to quarantine upon arrival in Victoria, they will be subject to the state’s rules preventing the unvaccinated from attending hospitality venues and other settings.
Mr Perrottet told Sydney radio 2GB on Friday the change was “great for business and great for families”.
Families will be able to reunite and travel by air on one of the busiest aeroplane routes in the world.
“We’re slowly getting back to normality,” Mr Perrottet said.
NSW has fully vaccinated 89.05 per cent of its population aged over 16, while 93.78 per cent have had at least one dose.
Victoria is not far behind, with 92.7 per cent single-dose coverage and 82.5 per cent double-dosed.
Meanwhile, Western Australia will wait until as late as early-February to reopen its interstate borders in a move the premier says will save hundreds of lives.
Unveiling the state’s long-awaited border transition plan on Friday, Premier Mark McGowan did not set a specific reopening date but said controls would be eased once the state achieved 90 per cent vaccination for people aged 12 and above.
That threshold, which requires another 250,000 West Australians to get vaccinated against COVID-19, is expected to be reached by late January or early February.
A specific reopening date will be locked in once the state achieves 80 per cent vaccination, expected in the first half of December.
“I acknowledge some people will be frustrated. They may not be able to be reunited with family from New South Wales or Victoria over Christmas,” the premier told reporters.
“But as difficult as it is, it is for the right reasons.”
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