Wednesday, October 20, 2021

Safe travel zone with New Zealand

The Australian Government is establishing a Safe Travel Zone with New Zealand.

This is the next step for a COVID-safe Australia that will reunite families and friends, offer opportunities for businesses looking for workers, and back the communities that depend on tourism.

Australia and New Zealand have worked closely together since the COVID-19 pandemic began.

We are committed to opening up both domestic travel within Australia and travel with New Zealand, as well as other low risk countries as soon as the health advice says it is safe to do so.

The Australian Government’s Department of Health has undertaken a public health risk assessment of COVID-19 in New Zealand, which indicated that New Zealand posed a low risk of COVID-19 transmission to Australia.

Passengers from New Zealand will be able to travel to Australia, quarantine-free, from Friday, 16 October, provided they have not been in an area designated as a COVID-19 hotspot in New Zealand in the preceding 14 days.

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As has been announced already, the Australian Government is defining a hotspot using a three-day rolling average of three locally acquired cases per day.

There are currently no COVID-19 hotspots in New Zealand. The last locally acquired case with an unidentified epidemiological source occurred on 21 August 2020. We are working closely with New Zealand authorities to ensure we are notified promptly of any outbreaks there.

Any state or territory that imposes travel restrictions consistent with the Australian Government-defined hotspot, as advised by the acting Chief Medical Officer, Professor Paul Kelly, will be able to participate in the Safe Travel Zone.

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After offering these arrangements at the latest National Cabinet, we have reached agreement for this first stage of quarantine-free travel with New South Wales and the Northern Territory. We welcome those jurisdictions’ commitment to reopening Australia to the world.

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Normal visa requirements will apply and travellers returning to New Zealand from Australia will be required to comply with New Zealand’s travel requirements.

The Australian Government will provide increased Australian Border Force support at airports to support the establishment of green lanes of travel for New Zealanders and collecting information on arrivals to assist with contact tracing if required.

We expect the establishment of quarantine-free travel to Australia from New Zealand will also free up space for around an additional 325 passengers a week to enter quarantine in Sydney.

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