Big issue with our key to overseas travel
Many of us have missed the sights and sounds of the world outside Australia, and for those of us with itchy feet there was a promising announcement today by the government.
It revealed plans to have a "digital certificate" for Aussies who have been vaccinated against COVID-19.
The government has announced Australians will get a record when they receive a COVID-19 jab that will be stored and displayed on the Express Plus Medicare and MyGov apps - which could be the key to Australians being able to travel overseas again.
Those who require a hard copy will be able to access a printout from vaccine providers and Services Australia offices.
But not everyone is convinced by the plan. Opposition leader Anthony Albanese argued the government hasn't had the best record when it came to delivering COVID-19 support services online.
"We know that they didn't get the [COVIDSafe] tracing app right," he told the ABC.
"So they need to, as the rollout of the vaccine occurs, make sure that they absolutely get it right because our economy, as well as our health, depends on it."
However, the Government Services Minister Stuart Robert said Australians could have "enormous confidence" in the system.
"Any requirement for borders to open up will require vaccination and it will require the widespread use of assured certificates, and that is what we are talking about today - the Australian assured certificate that Australians can have enormous confidence in," Mr Robert told reporters on the Gold Coast.
"Importantly for Australians, they can have assurance the certificate they will have will be robust, it will be anchored to them, so they will know it's their certificate, and it will be widely accepted."
Cabinet approval for the scheme is due in the next two weeks.
An update to the Medicare app will also be developed as part of the plan, which aims to make proof of vaccination quick and easy to access.
It is expected the certificates will simplify visits to nursing homes and hospitals, and could even be required for interstate travel if future lockdowns are needed.
Mr Robert said to would be up to the states to determine if proof of vaccination would be necessary to visit workplaces, restaurants or supermarkets.
"We would be expecting them to issue public health orders if they see fit so I will leave that to the states and territories," Mr Robert said.
"What the federal government does is provide a record of vaccination to Australians should the need be there for Australians to use it. And Australians need to have that record, especially, depending on state public health orders but also when travelling and borders open up again."
The Pfizer vaccine is due to be rolled out nationally from the end of this month, while the distribution of AstraZeneca is due in March.
The federal parliament last week passed laws that require vaccine providers to record all the vaccines they administer, including the COVID-19 vaccine, on the national register.
Previously, the reporting of vaccinations had been voluntary.
Originally published as Big issue with our key to overseas travel