Scott Morrison has announced New South Wales, Queensland and Western Australia will start lifting their caps on international arrivals. Speaking at a press conference on Friday after a national cabinet meeting the prime minister said each state will take on another 500 weekly arrivals, but it would be done in a staged way.
“I want to thank, in particular, the New South Wales Government for their very quick and prompt response to support those liftings of the caps, and today we did get support for moving to those additional numbers,” he said. “But it will be done in a staged way.”
He said NSW will move to take an additional 500 by Monday week (September 27). On that same day, Qld and WA will each take an additional 200 weekly arrivals. By October 4, Morrison said Qld will then move to 400-500 extra. And by October 11, WA will also be welcoming an additional 500 a week.
“Now, New South Wales has been carrying the majority share and will continue to do that. They will go to 3,000 a week from Monday week,” he added.
Under the current cap, just 4,000 Australians can come home each week, while there’s currently 24,000 Aussie stranded overseas. Asked whether the international arrivals cap will likely be increased to 6,000 again, Morrison replied with: “I believe it will [be lifted again], and we spoke about that today.
“So, let’s get to this next level, and then ultimately we’d like to see those caps lifted, as they were back in early July. That would be my goal.”
Morrison also touched on the trans-Tasman travel bubble, where people from New Zealand could come into Australia without quarantine.
“We’re working to ensure that New Zealanders can come to Australia, and Australians can return to Australia from New Zealand without the need to go through quarantine if they’re not coming from an area where there is an outbreak of Covid-19,” he said. “For example, the whole of the South Island. That’s an area where there is no Covid.
“And so if we can get to the situation soon where those coming home from New Zealand are able to enter Australia without going into a 14-day quarantine in a hotel, or in the worst-case scenario only having to do that in their home, then what that does is that frees up places in our hotel quarantine system.”
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