Why Australians will be banned from going overseas for at least another year


Australians are set to be banned from travelling overseas for at least another year – but restrictions could last even longer if there’s another coronavirus outbreak.

Holidaymakers have been barred from leaving the country since March 25 and Prime Minister Scott Morrison has strongly indicated that restriction would continue until a coronavirus vaccine was developed.

The Reserve of Australia has now announced it expected the border to remain closed for at least another year, as it updated its economic forecasts.  

‘Some restrictions on international departures and arrivals are assumed to be in place until around the end of 2021,’ it said on Friday.

 

Australians are set to be banned from travelling overseas for at least another year. Holidaymakers have been barred from leaving the country since March 25 and Prime Minister Scott Morrison has strongly indicated that restriction would continue until a coronavirus vaccine was developed. Pictured is a deserted Sydney airport 

‘The baseline scenario assumes that no additional large outbreaks and accompanying strict containment measures occur within Australia and that restrictions continue to be gradually lifted nationally (or are only tightened modestly for a limited time).’

The RBA’s November quarterly statement on monetary policy feared the draconian ban on travelling overseas could continue into 2022 should there be another coronavirus outbreak in Australia.

‘A plausible downside scenario is that Australia experiences further major outbreaks and there is a loss of control of the virus in other economies,’ it said.

‘In this scenario a substantial share of the population faces renewed distancing restrictions and curbs on business activities, and the opening of international borders is delayed further.’

Australia’s ban on its own citizens leaving is so severe federal independent MP Zali Steggall in August compared the policy to something out of North Korea. 

While bans on the free movement of citizens contravene the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights, they are allowed to combat a biosecurity emergency or pandemic. 

Australia is already in recession for the first time in three decades, as a result of non-citizens and non-residents being banned and the COVID-19 business shutdowns.

With the travel ban continuing, the Reserve Bank expected the domestic economy to shrink by four per cent in 2020 – a level four times worse than 1991 when Australia was previously in recession.

The Reserve of Australia has now announced it expected the border to remain closed for at least another year as it updated its economic forecasts

The Reserve of Australia has now announced it expected the border to remain closed for at least another year as it updated its economic forecasts

Australia’s unemployment rate stood at 6.9 per cent in September, compared 5.1 per cent in February 2020 shortly before the World Health Organisation declared a COVID-19 pandemic.

The Reserve Bank is expecting the jobless rate to peak at eight per cent in December – lower than the ten per cent level earlier feared.

But unemployment wasn’t expected to fall back to six per cent until December 2022 – a level still higher than before the coronavirus recession. 

New Zealand’s newly re-elected Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern on Thursday said she expected to keep ‘existing border settings’ banning foreigners from visiting, as Kiwis were allowed to travel abroad.

As of this week, Kiwis returning to New Zealand are required to book stays in managed quarantine accommodation. 

The RBA's November quarterly statement on monetary policy feared the draconian ban on travelling overseas could continue into 2022 should there be another coronavirus outbreak in Australia

The RBA’s November quarterly statement on monetary policy feared the draconian ban on travelling overseas could continue into 2022 should there be another coronavirus outbreak in Australia

While the New Zealand government continues to devise a travel bubble with Australia and Pacific nations, Ms Ardern has suggested this would be unlikely this year.

‘New Zealanders want and deserve a safe summer holiday, so our focus is on managing the existing risk profile,’ she said.

‘We will be continuing with our existing border settings for now while we work on what can be accommodated within those settings.’

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews confirmed on Friday he had written to Mr Morrison saying he would be happy to accept flights from NZ from November 9.

New Zealanders have been allowed to fly direct to New South Wales and the Northern Territory since October 16. 

Kiwis visiting Australia since that date have been spared from having to quarantine provided they haven’t been in a COVID-19 hot spot during the past fortnight.

New Zealand's newly re-elected Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern on Thursday said she expected to keep 'existing border settings' banning foreigners from visiting, as Kiwis were allowed to travel abroad. She is pictured on Friday as her second term cabinet was sworn in

New Zealand’s newly re-elected Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern on Thursday said she expected to keep ‘existing border settings’ banning foreigners from visiting, as Kiwis were allowed to travel abroad. She is pictured on Friday as her second term cabinet was sworn in

Kiwi citizens living in Australia are allowed to go back there but Australians citizens still can’t. 

Mr Morrison said in early October he wanted to create a travel bubble with New Zealand and Pacific island nations, but said travel to the US and Europe was likely to be restricted until 2022 unless a COVID-19 vaccine was developed sooner.

Australians wanting to head overseas need to obtain a travel ban exemption from the Department of Home Affairs, with work or compassionate reasons considered.

The Reserve Bank offered a more upbeat scenario where the rest of the world controlled the coronavirus outbreak, but it provided no possible date for an early end to Australia’s travel ban. 

‘It also assumes that international virus outbreaks are rapidly brought under control, such that tourism exports return to pre-pandemic levels more quickly once borders reopen,’ it said.

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