Domestic Travel – How will travel in Australia look at Christmas?

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Domestic Travel – How will travel in Australia look at Christmas?

Domestic Travel – How will travel in Australia look at Christmas?

Christmas is fast approaching and families all over Australia have wondered what travel plans for the festive season will look like. Like international travel, each state is working to their own timeline based on vaccination rates and restrictions.

New South Wales
From 1st December 2021, travel will resume for everyone. The return of a negative Covid-19 test will be required to be able to enter New South Wales. 
While New South Wales locals won’t have any restrictions when it comes to the number of people who can gather for Christmas, it may be a different story for anyone hoping to celebrate with interstate family. The restrictions currently in place in other states and territories may mean that travellers that have ventured into New South Wales may have trouble trying to get back into their home state.

With the state hoping 90% of the Victorian population will be fully vaccinated before the end of November, at that time there will be no travel requirement for entering Victoria. It is yet to be confirmed if travellers need to return a negative Covid-19 test to enter the state. Quarantine is not required for fully vaccinated travellers.

Queensland is hoping to reach a vaccination rate of 80% by Christmas. This being the case, fully vaccinated travellers can enter Queensland if they have returned a negative Covid-19 test result in the 72 hours prior to entering the state. If travellers have not been in a Covid-19 hotspot in the previous 14 days, then they do not need to quarantine.

South Australia
South Australia will ease border restrictions for fully vaccinated travellers from 23rd November. Borders will be open to people from all states and territories but those arriving from Local Government Areas (LGA) with community transmission and a fully vaccinated population of less than 80% will need to quarantine. Those arriving in South Australia from an LGA with any evidence of community transmission will need to return a negative Covid-19 test within three days of arrival.
Once the 90% fully vaccinated milestone is achieved, which will hopefully be prior to Christmas, SA borders will be open to all travellers regardless of where they are coming from. Unvaccinated arrivals will need to quarantine for 14 days.

Western Australia
The West Australian government hasn’t yet given a date for opening domestic borders but has indicated it will be some time after the state achieves a vaccination rate above 80% for people aged over 12 years. At this stage it doesn’t seem likely that Western Australia will be open for Christmas.
If Western Australia does however open its borders for Christmas, Premier Mark McGowen has indicated travellers from New South Wales and Victoria will be prohibited from entering the state regardless of whether they are fully vaccinated.

Tasmania’s borders will open to the rest of Australia on 15th December. Anyone will be able to enter the state if they are fully vaccinated and return a Covid-19 test with a negative result within 72 hours of travel. This applies to anyone over the age of 12 years. Tasmanians returning home from trips of less than seven days will not need to have a test within 72 hours of travel if they are fully vaccinated. Fully vaccinated travellers will also not be required to quarantine.

Australian Capital Territory
The ACT hasn’t yet released a plan for the Christmas period however from 1st of November, New South Wales and Victoria will no longer be declared Covid-19 affected areas. This will enable fully vaccinated travellers from these states to enter the ACT. At this stage, negative Covid-19 tests are not required to enter the ACT. Christmas travel restrictions will depend on whether there are outbreaks in other areas.

Northern Territory
The Northern Territory hasn’t announced a formal re-opening of domestic borders for Christmas. It’s also possible they won’t have quarantine-free in-bound travel until January 2022. They will allow home quarantine for fully vaccinated people provided they quarantine at a residence in an area where at least 80% of the population is fully vaccinated. The NT government is hoping to shorten the 14-day quarantine period to 7 days.

International Travel
As we know, international travel will commence well before Christmas arrives so it’s more than likely many families will be able to celebrate with loved ones from overseas. 
Currently, only New South Wales and Victoria no longer require travellers to quarantine if they are fully vaccinated. The other states have not yet committed to quarantine-free travel which may pose a barrier to anyone wishing to travel from overseas into states other than New South Wales and Victoria.

The Western Australia Hard Border
While it’s understandable that each state leader wants to keep their state safe, it is causing some issues.
In the case of Western Australia, it’s great that they are living life as if there wasn’t a pandemic however it comes at a cost. Residents with family interstate are unable to see them or be with them in times of celebration or sorrow. 
This hard border is also making it difficult for businesses to function. There are cases where employees with critical or specialised skills have applied for a G2G Pass to enter Western Australia yet have been denied on numerous occasions. At some point the WA government will need to realise that that their hard border stance will come at a very high cost.

There is so much more we are yet to learn regarding how Christmas in Australia will look this year. For the most part, Australian’s will have a somewhat normal Christmas whether they travel interstate or stay local.

If you have a query regarding migration, contact the Visa Solutions Australia team on 1800 828 008.

Travel Exemptions
While Australian borders are currently closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, travel exemptions may apply under the following circumstances:
- A traveller has a compassionate or compelling reason to visit Australia
- Overseas workers holding a Subclass 482 or 400 visa are required to undertake a job in Australia that cannot be filled by a local employee
Visa Solutions Australia has been successful in acquiring a broad range of exemptions, fromncritical workers to those needing to travel on compassionate grounds.




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