PM Scott Morrison pushed the Christmas gift envelope in parliament yesterday, urging state and territory leaders to ease restrictions and reopen borders to ensure loved ones can reunite for the festive period.
Speaking at Question Time, PM Morrison said states and territories needed to begin planning now to reopen and reconnect the rest of the country in time for Christmas.
“By Christmas, Mr Speaker, we should aim for Australians to be able to go to work, to be able to be with their family at Christmas, and to return to visit their friends and to look forward to a positive 2021,” he said.
As it stands, Queensland has said that their border restrictions will remain in place until the end of September at least with Queensland premier Annastacia Palaszczuk saying, “There will be no changes for the month of September,” at a press conference on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, Western Australia has said the state may remain closed off to the rest of the country “for a long time to come yet”. Whatever that means.
Tasmania will remain off-limits until at least December 1, while South Australia and the Northern Territory also still have restrictions in place.
According to the ABC, The Federal Government has been amping up pressure on states and territories to move things along considerably, with PM Morrison pledging to adopt a ‘national definition of what constitutes a coronavirus hotspot’ regardless of whether other state and territory leaders agree.
Clearly, the pressure and the narrative is starting to build.
The Save Australian Tourism campaign has had over 400 Australian travel and tourism leaders support it by endorsing an open letter calling on state governments to reopen their borders.
As the letter on the website says:
“We need interstate borders to remain open. We need certainty that domestic travel is accessible so that Australians can recommence making travel plans and so we can get employees and businesses back to work,”
“We implore you now to desist from making announcements that erode this confidence; we implore you to stop spending public money on border closures. We implore you to work quickly and collaboratively with neighbouring states to install screening protocols for travellers and to implement logical solutions which will allow interstate travel to recommence in a safe and sustainable manner.”
We’re with you all the way and have also joined the cause. What about you? Get involved here.
What about lifting the international travel ban?
The billion dollar question. Will Australians be allowed to leave our shores to visit friends and families overseas?
While Christmas planning is already on the backburner for Australians wanting to visit friends and family all over the country, the same need applies to overseas travel.
Yet to date, The Federal Government has still not provided any update on when Australia’s international travel ban may be lifted.
This narrative too is only going to build in the coming weeks and months as we head towards Christmas and what is traditionally the key time of year for families to re-unite the world over.
Will the COVID-19 Grinch steal Christmas from us all? Or will we be saved by some common sense leadership we’re all crying out for?
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