Christmas in NZ? New hope for trans-Tasman travel
There is new hope for a New Zealand travel bubble to open up by the end of the year, which could be used to pave the way for similar arrangements with other COVID-safe countries.
But there is a high bar to be set, with an aim to see the states open up to each other first and New Zealand wanting 28 days without community transmission in Australia.
Tourism Minister Simon Birmingham said he hoped the borders could be opened up with New Zealand by the end of the year.
"That would just be a great step and it would prove the work that is being done to make sure this can be done, again, in a safe way," he told the ABC on Sunday.
Senator Birmingham said there would be strict protocols set up to keep travellers to and from New Zealand away from airport arrivals coming in from other countries.
"(I hope) that travellers between Australia and New Zealand can be given corridors and clearances through our international airports without coming into contact with higher risk travellers who might be returning from other parts of the region and still have to go through quarantine," he said.
"We're making sure we have all the work done, all the preparations there so that we can safely achieve that bubble with New Zealand."
He said it would be up to New Zealand whether or not to open up, but it could prove to be a model to look at to create similar travel bubbles with countries "that meet similar high standards".
Australian Border Force boss Mike Outram has previously indicated Australia is looking at the Singaporean model for reopening international travel in a COVID-safe way.
This includes COVID-19 tests prior to departure from your overseas port and on arrival, airports split into red zones and green zones, as well the use of biometric technology to collect data for contact tracing.
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has said they are not considering opening up to individual states, but the country as a whole.
Ms Ardern said she wanted to see Australia go 28 days without any community transmission before that could happen.
Originally published as Christmas in NZ? New hope for trans-Tasman travel