While NSW’s announcement to scrap quarantine came as a shock to other states, the Flight Centre boss anticipates they will soon follow suit.
All states and territories should use their “common sense” and abolish quarantine requirements for international arrivals like NSW has done, according to the Flight Centre managing director.
NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet on Friday made the biggest travel announcement in Australia since March 2020 – that from November 1, international arrivals into Sydney will not need to quarantine.
While the announcement apparently blindsided the Prime Minister and other state and territories, Graham Turner says the decision was “obvious, sensible, and the right way to go” and would have a three-pronged effect.
“Initially, it’s great for Australians desperate to come home, then the visiting friends and relatives, and thirdly the tourism industry that’s been decimated by these sorts of border closures,” he said.
“It’s great news all around.”
Mr Turner said he expected most other states and territories to follow suit.
“Except maybe for WA, they’re quite recalcitrant. One has no idea whether they’ll make a sensible decision on this, but I think all other states will follow quite quickly,” he told NCA NewsWire.
When asked about what his message was to other state leaders, Mr Perrottet said Australians “couldn’t live here in a hermit kingdom” in a pointed jab to WA Premier Mark McGowan.
“I think people in NSW will be flying to Bali before Broome. I want to open NSW to the world,” Mr Perrottet said.
“We need to rejoin the world. We’ve got to open up, and this decision today is a big one, but it’s the right way to get NSW connected globally.”
Mr McGowan, who has repeatedly stated his state would not open to quarantine-free travel until the vaccination rate was close to 90 per cent, is expected to front the media later on Friday to address the NSW announcement.
Meanwhile, it’s understood Mr Morrison was not consulted about the NSW announcement. Just two weeks ago he announced states could transition to seven days home quarantine for returning travellers once the vaccination rate reached 80 per cent so Australians could return home for Christmas.
Ultimately, the ability to reopen international borders and grant tourism visas is a matter for the commonwealth.
In Queensland, chief health officer Jeannette Young told the media that she had been notified of NSW’s announcement via a “very brief text message”.
“I haven’t been able to get my head around (this enormous decision), so I need to go and work out what that change means,” she said.
Victorian Health Minister Martin Foley admitted he had not been notified prior to the announcement and told reporters to “take a chill pill” when repeated questions about the implications it would have on Victoria were asked.
“We are not aware of the full details … We will go through that,” he said.
“I wasn’t (aware of the announcement). There would be no need for me to be so. Each state is responsible for its own circumstances.”
Mr Turner said he hoped the flow-on effect would be felt by tourism businesses and Australian families alike who had suffered under the border closures.
“There is no downside,” he said.