Australians won’t be traveling overseas again until at least the middle of 2022 the government predicts – in a major shift on its previous claim that the border could reopen by October this year.
Government forecasts released in federal budget documents on Tuesday say that inbound and outbound international travel into Australia ‘will remain low through to mid-2022.’ But officials assume there will then be a gradual return to normal travel after that point. ‘Safe travel zones’ will be established, as Australia has done with the New Zealand travel bubble.
Last year the Government predicted international borders would be open in October 2021 after the whole adult population has been offered a vaccination. However, this timeline has now been pushed back as Australia’s vaccination rollout falls behind due to supply shortages and vaccine hesitancy. Even when the borders open, Treasury officials admit the number of Aussies traveling overseas won’t return to pre-pandemic levels for some time.
Tonight’s forecast is only a government assumption that could be wrecked at any point by serious Covid outbreaks or mutant virus variants. At the weekend, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the border would remain closed ‘indefinitely’ to protect the Australian way of life.
‘We sit here as an island that’s living like few countries in the world are at the moment,’ he said.
Read more here