Border chaos as Daniel Andrews health minister is caught off guard by NSW opening its borders to the world exposing an extraordinary loophole for families stranded abroad
- NSW residents can travel to Victoria without quarantine
- NSW also announced quarantine would be scrapped for stabbed returning travelers
- A loophole means Victorians can fly to NSW from abroad to avoid isolation
Victoria’s Health Secretary Martin Foley has been stumbled by questions about how international travelers could circumvent the state’s quarantine regime by entering from NSW.
The government of Daniel Andrews announced Friday that fully vaccinated residents of NSW can now travel to Victoria without having to isolate for 14 days on arrival.
But his announcement came minutes after NSW Prime Minister Dom Perrottet revealed that international travelers returning to NSW from November 1 will no longer be required to quarantine at hotels or at home.
This has exposed a major loophole in travel between the two states, with reporters questioning whether a traveler could fly from London to Sydney and then to Melbourne a few days later – dodging Victoria’s mandatory 14-day quarantine period.
Victoria’s Health Secretary Martin Foley has been stumbled by questions about how international travelers could circumvent the state’s quarantine regime by entering from NSW
“I am not speaking on behalf of the NSW government but I understand their position is that you should have a negative test 72 hours before coming to Australia,” he said.
‘You have to be dosed twice. That’s the same position we’re looking for under the new, more flexible system that will be introduced from next Tuesday for returnees to Victoria from New South Wales and the ACT.”
‘With regard to the international border system, we have joined the process set up by the National Cabinet.
‘If the National Cabinet thinks otherwise, we will also be involved in that process.’
When he pressed again on whether overseas Victorians would just fly back to Sydney and then Melbourne, Mr Foley said it was “a matter for the NSW government”.
‘We do not control international borders. The Commonwealth government approves who comes back. They approve who can leave. It would be easier to come back to New South Wales than to travel around New South Wales,” he said.
He said Victorian authorities should take a closer look at NSW’s plan before commenting on what it means for returning travelers, adding that he was not aware of it until it was announced.
“Everyone should take a chill pill,” he said.
“We are not aware of the full details of a press release fresh off the press from the NSW government.
‘We’re going through that. We wish New South Wales, as we always do, every success, and Victoria will continue its business in the national context, recognizing that it is the Commonwealth that controls international borders, not the states.”
Foley also said Victoria would not follow in NSW’s footsteps and abolish their quarantine system.
“Victoria has joined the national cabinet plan for the reopening of international borders,” he said.
‘As part of that arrangement, we are participating in the home quarantine trial and we are going to do that. Our hotel quarantine system will remain in place, it will continue to meet the limits for international returnees.’