Coronavirus Australia: State borders could be open by Christmas

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has revealed Australia’s state and territories – except for Western Australia – have agreed “in principle” to get borders open by Christmas.

Mr Morrison said the next National Cabinet meeting was scheduled for November 13, where leaders could discuss potentially moving the timetable forward.

Western Australia has a hard border in place while Melburnians are banned from entering every state and territory.

Mr Morrison said West Australian Premier Mark McGowan still had some reservations about reopening his state but the PM was hopeful the entire country could be reopen by late December.

“I look forward to the continuing opening up,” Mr Morrison said.

“Western Australia, there are special circumstances there. I made that very clear, the nature of our economy and how that works, the premier continues to maintain that position.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison during today’s press conference at Parliament House. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Gary RamageSource:News Corp Australia

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“Around the rest of the country, they have their timetables and we look forward to it opening by Christmas of this year.

“Certainly seven out of the eight states and territories will be open and that will be a great day for Australia. You never know, it might be eight.”

In his press conference this afternoon, Mr Morrison also revealed National Cabinet had also agreed to increase the cap on international arrivals.

Western Australia will accept an additional 140 passengers a month from November and Queensland will accept an additional 150 Aussies.

South Australia and the ACT have also agreed to ongoing support.

Tasmania has also offered to take overseas Aussies but does not have an international airport.

“If we needed to stand that up in order to achieve what we have set out then we will certainly do that. (Tasmania) is our first standby option. I want to think Premier Peter Guitman for working with us to achieve that,” Mr Morrison said.

Australians could be travelling to see interstate friends and family by Christmas. Picture: QantasSource:Supplied

“It will be similar to what we have done in the Northern Territory.”

There has also been news for the more than 26,000 Australians still hoping to get home from overseas.

Mr Morrison said of the 4100 Australians overseas considered to be vulnerable, 1278 had made it home.

The 1278 is not including the 161 passengers that just landed in Darwin for two weeks of quarantine.

Mr Morrison said the government hoped to get all 26,000 Aussies home by Christmas – something that could definitely be made possible once Victoria is able to accept overseas arrivals again.

“It is our goal to get those 26,000 Australians home that are registered by Christmas,” he said.

“Whether we achieve that is going to depend on many factors – it will depend on flights, be dependent on the continued co-operation of the states and territories.”

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