Prime Minister Scott Morrison has announced that seven out of eight Australian states are on board to reopen borders before Christmas.
In a press conference following today’s National Cabinet meeting, Morrison explained that 7/8 states are in agreement to a roadmap to get us travelling domestically before December and the festive season.
“We agreed today, seven out of eight states and territories, we agreed that before you know what you’re going to do, you’ve got to agree about where you want to get to,” Mr Morrison said in the press conference on Friday afternoon.
“And we agreed today with the objective that was set out in the May plan to be, at the end of that step 3 process, which we will seek to ensure is even better defined, we said before we wanted to get there in July and the virus prevented us from achieving that. Seven out of eight states and territories want us to get back to that position in December of this year.”
The states in question are now working on a revised version of the three-step plan out of lockdown that was initially aiming to have us living in COVID-normality by July.
Basically, Western Australia is the only state that hasn’t agreed to the plan, outlining a number of conditions that would need to be met before they will agree to open their borders.
However, in a weird metaphor about buses (??), Morrison explained that 100% consensus on the issue wasn’t going to happen, and that the government will work with the seven states to strive to meet the December deadline.
“Not everyone has to get on the bus for the bus to leave the station, but it is important for the bus to leave the station and we all agree on that.”
As part of the plan, the Federal Government is looking to establish a concrete definition of what actually constitutes a “hotspot”, which seems like a good place to start.
Basically, once a definition has been determined, states will be able to close their borders with certain hotspot areas, rather than completely banning other states or territories from entering.
However, the Prime Minister clarified that the plan is about looking forward, rather than trying to reopen borders immediately.
“I need to encourage everyone that we need to look just beyond not just the ‘now’,” Mr Morrison said. “No-one is asking anyone to take anyone’s borders down now. No-one’s asking that.”
It’s important to note that it’s all just wishful thinking at this stage, so I wouldn’t be getting too excited about going home for Christmas just yet. But hopefully we’ll all be safely sinking socially-distanced beers over Christmas lunch come December.