Border chaos as Daniel Andrews’ health minister is blindsided by NSW throwing its borders open to the world exposing an extraordinary loophole for families stranded overseas
- NSW residents will be able to travel to Victoria without having to quarantine
- NSW announced quarantine would be scrapped for jabbed returning travellers
- Loophole means Victorians could fly from overseas into NSW to avoid isolation
Victoria’s Health Minister Martin Foley has stumbled through questions about how international travellers could sidestep the state’s hotel quarantine regime by entering from NSW.
Daniel Andrews’ government announced on Friday that fully vaccinated NSW residents will be able to travel to Victoria without having to isolate for 14 days on arrival from October 19.
But the announcement came minutes after NSW Premier Dom Perrottet revealed international travellers returning to NSW will not need to quarantine at hotels or at home from November 1.
This has exposed a major loophole in travel between the two states with reporters questioning whether a traveller could fly from London to Sydney and then into Melbourne a few days later – dodging Victoria’s mandatory 14-day quarantine period.
Victoria’s Health Minister Martin Foley has stumbled through questions about how international travellers could sidestep the state’s hotel quarantine regime by entering from NSW
‘I don’t speak for the NSW government but I I understand their position to be is that you have to have a negative test 72 hours before you come to Australia,’ he said.
‘You have to be double dosed. That is the same position that we are seeking people under the new more flexible system that will come in as of next Tuesday for returnees into Victoria from New South Wales and the ACT.’
‘In regards to the international border system, we have signed up to the process that the National Cabinet has put in place.
‘If National Cabinet takes a different view, we will be part of that process also.’
When pressed again if Victorians overseas would just fly back to Sydney and then into Melbourne, Mr Foley said it was a ‘matter for the NSW government’.
‘We don’t control the international borders. The Commonwealth government approve who comes back. They approve who can leave. It would be easier to come back into New South Wales than it will be to get around New South Wales,’ he said.
He said Victorian authorities would need to look at NSW’s plan further before commenting on what it meant for returning travellers, adding he didn’t know about it until it was announced.
NSW Premier Dom Perrottet revealed international travellers returning to NSW will not need to quarantine at hotels or at home from November 1 (pictured Sydney hotel quarantine facility)
‘Everyone needs to take a chill pill,’ he said.
‘We are not aware of the full details of a media release hot off the printer from the NSW Government.
‘We will go through that. We wish New South Wales, as we always do, every success, and Victoria will go about its business in the national context, understanding it’s the Commonwealth who control international borders, not the states.’
Mr Foley also said Victoria wouldn’t be following in the footsteps of NSW and scrapping their quarantine system.
‘Victoria is signed up to the national cabinet plan for the reopening of international borders,’ he said.
‘We are participating in the trial of home-based quarantine as part of that arrangement and that is what we’ll do. Our hotel quarantine system continues to be in place, it continues to deliver on the caps for the international returnees.’
Victoria’s border will open up to NSW from 11.59pm at October 19, and will require travellers to get tested for Covid-19 three days before arrival.
They will then get tested as they enter Victoria and will need to isolate until given a negative result.
Children under the age of 12, who are too young for the vaccine, will be allowed to enter the state under their parent’s permit.
Those who are not fully vaccinated will still need to complete 14 days of quarantine upon arrival in Victoria.
NSW residents can travel to Victoria despite millions in the southern state still living in the midst of a lockdown (pictured in Melbourne)