No more lockdowns EVER: Dom Perrottet vows to never shut down the state again after it opens up in just hours – as he flags opening the international border in three weeks and the NSW/Victoria border well before Christmas
- NSW premier Dom Perrottet said he is committed to avoiding further lockdowns
- Sydney will emerge from lockdown at 12.01am on Monday – for the last time
- Mr Perrottet also added he wants to welcome international travelers earlier
Premier Dominic Perrottet has vowed to keep NSW open and avoid more lockdowns, saying he will use ‘targeted restrictions’ if needed to keep outbreaks of Covid in check.
He also suggested international borders could be opened for the vaccinated as early as November 1, two weeks ahead of the Morrison Government’s plan.
Sydney’s lockdown ends at 12.01am on Monday after the state reached the 70 per cent vaccination milestone, and the premier vows it will be the last one.
NSW premier Dom Perrottet (pictured) said lockdowns would ‘absolutely’ only be a last resort
After 106 days in lockdown, the city’s pubs and cafes will once again welcome patrons, gyms will re-open and up to 10 vaccinated guests can visit a home.
Funerals and weddings can go ahead with up to 100 attendees and groups of up to 30 people can gather outdoors.
Mr Perrottet, who has been in the state’s top job for less than two weeks, said his ‘intention’ was that NSW would not have to endure another lockdown.
‘The vaccination rates… across Sydney have been phenomenal and that protects us from ever having to go back [into lockdown], but we need to continue to open in a safe way,’ he told The Sydney Morning Herald.
On the weekend NSW reached 90 per cent of residents over 16 receiving their first Covid vaccine dose – the largest percentage of any state or territory in the country with Victoria the next highest at about 85 per cent.
Mr Perrottet said regional NSW was a little behind Sydney’s vaccination rates, but was catching up.
‘We would be focusing on targeted restrictions in circumstances where they are required but ultimately now, in a position with high vaccination rates, the people of NSW have ensured that we can live safely alongside the virus,’ he said.
International travelers could also be welcomed back into the state earlier if a pilot program to test seven-day home quarantine goes well (pictured: travelers at Sydney airport in 2020)
The 39-year-old said localised lockdowns would ‘absolutely’ only be used as a last resort.
Mr Perrottet said he spoke to Prime Minister Scott Morrison about the possibility of opening international borders earlier.
While Australian residents are able to travel internationally once their state or territory hits the 80 per cent vaccination mark, those who want to travel to Australia would have to wait until well into November.
This is something the Morrison Government has control over. However, the NSW Premier’s view is that if a test of seven-day home quarantine for fully-vaccinated travellers goes well, there was no reason the border couldn’t be opened sooner.
‘Stuart Ayres is running the pilot in NSW at the moment. This is something we are focused on, if we can bring back international travel faster we are certainly looking at that.’
Currently fully-vaccinated Australian residents can travel overseas when their state hits the 80 per cent double dose mark but foreigners visiting the country have to wait longer
Sydneysiders (pictured) have spent 106 days in strict lockdown after an outbreak of the delta Covid strain began in mid-June
Mr Perrottet also spoke to Victorian Premier Dan Andrews about opening up the border between the states with the pair agreeing they would like to see that happen in mid-December.
Victoria recorded 1,965 new Covid cases on Sunday.
The former NSW treasurer said the GST was also a focus for him – specifically how the tax dollars are distributed between states.
Under the current agreement each state must get 70 cents of every dollar raised through the tax.
Western Australia, which has avoided lockdowns and has been booming over the last two years thanks to its mining industry, is set to receive $2.1 billion in GST payments from the Commonwealth in 2021-22.
Mr Perrottet said he would like to see a review of the current GST arrangements between states.