Quarantine-free travel bubbles with South Korea and Japan are being considered by the Prime Minister as Australia looks to expand international travel.
Scott Morrison said the Government was working quickly to establish the arrangements between the two Asian nations, following a similar deal with Singapore.
Citizens from the city-state will be able to arrive in Australia without quarantining from November 21.
Quarantine-free travel bubbles with South Korea and Japan (pictured) are being considered by the Prime Minister as Australia looks to expand international travel
Australians are allowed to travel overseas and return to NSW and Victoria without quarantine – but foreigners are still banned unless they are coming from travel bubble nations.
Despite his plans, Mr Morrison told the Victorian Chamber of Commerce and Industry caution was still needed following the return of international travel.
‘We have just got to get through the next couple of weeks and Australia has been through a lot,’ Mr Morrison said.
‘We don’t want to get the wobbles now in managing the safely reopening process.’
About 81 per cent of Australians aged 16 and older are fully vaccinated, while almost 90 per cent have received their first dose.
The prime minister indicated students and skilled workers would probably be allowed to travel to Australia without having to quarantine before the end of the year.
Also in the speech, Mr Morrison blasted Melbourne’s ‘extreme lockdowns’ and declared freedom ‘must never be taken from us again’.
Five million Melbourne residents were last month released from the longest cumulative lockdown in the world, having been confined to their homes for 262 days, or nearly nine months, since March 2020.
Premier Daniel Andrews imposed some of the toughest restrictions across the globe including a one-hour-a-day exercise limit, a 5km movement restriction and an 8pm curfew.
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews speaks to the media during a press conference in Melbourne on Sunday
Mr Morrison had been careful not to criticise Mr Andrews at the time – but in a speech in Melbourne on Wednesday he revealed his true feelings by describing the rules as ‘extreme’.
In a message to struggling small businesses, he said: ‘You’re the ones who’ve managed the heartache, complexity and frustration of extreme lockdowns and restrictions and staying Covid safe.
‘And you are the ones who are now opening your doors again.’
‘I also want to thank the people of Victoria,’ he added.
‘You have had to endure what no-one else in this country has had to endure.’
Scott Morrison (pictured giving a speech at the Victorian Chamber of Commerce on Wednesday) has blasted Melbourne’s ‘extreme lockdowns’
Revellers at Monkeys bar in Prahran as Melbourne opens up after lockdown last month. Mr Morrison said ‘freedom must never be taken from us again’
The Prime Minister said his national re-opening plan, which progressively removes restrictions once vaccination thresholds are met, allows Australia to avoid future lockdowns as long as premiers abide by it.
‘The human face of reopening, recovery and renewal is everywhere to see,’ he said.
‘You see it in the smiles on the faces of small business people, as they pull up the shutters in the morning on their deli, their newsagent or their coffee shop.
‘You see it in the hugs at airports, as families reunite across geographies and across generations.
‘And you see it in the simplest of pleasures. Friends catching up. Having a beer. Going to restaurants. Strolling around the shops.’
Melbourne was heavily policed during its lengthy lockdowns. Pictured: Police make arrests at a protest in the city in October 2021
And in a stark sentence that appeared to blame premiers for taking away Australians’ freedoms – even though he prevented them from leaving their own country for 18 months – he added: ‘The taste of freedom. It must never be taken from us again.’
‘That is why I put the national plan together. A plan based on the best possible medical science and economics to ensure we open safely and stay safely open.
‘Australians have kept their side of this deal by getting vaccinated.
‘Governments must now keep theirs and return to Australians their freedoms.’
It comes after Mr Morrison criticised Western Australia premier Mark McGowan who has vowed to keep his state border closed until 90 per cent of over 12s are fully vaccinated, expected in late January or early February.
The Prime Minister is furious the rouge Labor leader is not adhering to the National Plan which calls for states to do away with border closures once the jab rate hits 80 per cent.
‘The modelling done by the Doherty Institute makes it very clear, and that was what was agreed in the National Plan, not just once but twice, and that is once you reach 80 per cent vaccination rates, then you’re able to move forward,’ Mr Morrison said on Monday.
‘The advice we have from the Secretary of Treasury from Dr Kennedy is once you go over 80 per cent and you keep things locked down, you are doing more harm than good to your economy.
‘You are actually putting a price on Australians, when you continue to put heavy restrictions on your economy, once you get 80 per cent vaccination rates.’
What are the four phases of opening up?
A. Vaccinate, prepare and pilot (from July 14)
Arrival caps cut in half to 3,035 a week; early, stringent and short lockdowns if outbreaks occur; trials of seven-day home quarantine for vaccinated arrivals in South Australia; medicare vaccination certificates available on apps like apple wallet
B. Post vaccination phase (when 70 per cent are jabbed, expected late this year)
Lockdowns less likely but possible’; vaccinated people face reduced restrictions; caps for unvaccinated arrivals increased; a larger cap for vaccinated arrivals with ‘reduced quarantine requirements’; capped entry for students and economic visa holders
C. Consolidation phase (when 80 per cent are jabbed, time not announced)
Lifting all restrictions for outbound travel for vaccinated travellers; no caps for vaccinated arrivals; increased caps for students and visa holders; more travel bubbles being set up with countries such as Singapore; booster shots rolled out
D. Final phase (percentage or time not announced)
Uncapped arrivals for vaccinated people without any quarantine and uncapped arrivals for unvaccinated people with testing before departure and on arrival