In a shock announcement today, Northern Territory Chief Minister Michael Gunner has revealed he plans to keep the Territory’s border closed for at least another 18 months.
While there has to date been no definitive timeline for NT’s border to be reconsidered to reopen, Territory Chief Minister Michael Gunner today told ABC 24 that the list of banned states and territories was more likely to increase than decrease and that 18 months was a “conservative” estimate for when the borders would reopen.
“We’re much more likely to add spots than remove them, we’ve got an indefinite ban on Victoria and Sydney keeps bubbling away to the point where I can’t give you a date where that will ever lift,” he said.
Since July 17 when the border reopened, anyone travelling from Sydney hotspots or the entire state of Victoria must undertake two weeks forced quarantine at a personal cost of $2,500 per person if they want to enter the territory, while everyone else must fill out a border declaration pass before they arrive.
Urging locals to also not leave the territory for health and safety reasons, Mr Gunner followed on by saying:
“My advice to every Territorian, if you can, stay here in the Territory. You’re safe here, don’t go.”
“We’re working towards at least an 18-month window from today towards the end of next year.” He said.
Current Border Restrictions in The NT
- As of July 17, The Northern Territory border reopened to all other states and territories except Victoria and Sydney/NSW hotspot residents.
- Any Sydney/NSW hotspot residents entering will be forced into strict mandatory supervised quarantine at the Howard Springs facility at a personal cost of $2,500 per person. See the latest hotspots here.
- Residents from Port Stephens and Eurobodalla Shire in NSW and Brisbane, Ipswich and Logan in Queensland are also not allowed to fly into Yurala Airport, Uluru.
- Anyone arriving in the NT must complete a Border Entry Form. You must do this online up to 72 hours before entering the NT.
- All international arrivals must complete 14 days of mandatory self-quarantine at a place directed by the NT Government. You are required to cover the expense of your own quarantine fee.
According to Mr Gunner, the decision to extend the hard border closure was made in order to protect the Territory’s remote and vulnerable Indigenous population.
“Territorians first. This is what I think I need to do to make sure some of the most vulnerable people in the world stay safe,” he said.
After closing for three months due to the pandemic, Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park had reopened on June 19, before being forced to close again last week due to the local Indigenous community and traditional owners having concerns tourists visiting the region would put locals at risk.
“I‘m not taking risks here. Your life comes first. This is the Territory-first test. If you’re as safe as us, you’re welcome in.” Said Mr Gunner.
Find out more: www.coronavirus.nt.gov.au
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