Why Aussies could be travelling to New Zealand before Queensland

There is a chance Australians will be able to travel to New Zealand before hopping on a plane to Queensland, where the state is under pressure to reopen its borders.

New Zealand has long been tipped as the first country Australia reopens its borders to as the coronavirus pandemic in the Pacific region eases.

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States and territories across Australia are beginning to ease restrictions, however it still remains up in the air when borders will reopen.

Australian tourism minister Simon Birmingham said he would not allow fortified states to become an obstacle to the trans-Tasman deal.

Australia is considering a. travel deal with New. Zealand, while parts of Australia maintain border closures. Source: AAP

Mr Birmingham reiterated New Zealand is “obviously the first, and right now only” international destination Australia could agree to open up with.

"If New Zealand and some Australian states are ready and willing to progress, then the reluctance of other states to open up their domestic borders shouldn't become an obstacle to progress," he told Nine newspapers.

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has said she will consider lifting some travel restrictions at the end of the month, but warned the state's borders could remain shut until September if NSW and Victoria continue to record community transmissions of the virus.

"I will not put Queenslanders at risk," she told reporters.

Ms Palaszczuk said NSW and Victoria would have to get community transmission rates under control before the state reopened.

Queensland’s Chief Health Officer Jeannette Young said the earliest the tourism industry in the state could resume would be July, however in a “more realistic scenario” the industry would be preparing for September.

Pauline Hanson has said she was planning on taking on Ms Palaszczuk and the border closure decision in court.

'It is unconstitutional for Premier Palaszczuk to close Queensland's border and her actions are causing me a great deal of concern for the economic viability of our state,” the One Nation leader wrote on social media last week.

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has maintained the states borders will remain closed to keep residents safe. Source: AAP

Western Australia not welcoming visitors from the east

NSW is encouraging interstate visitors to come for a holiday from June 1, when travel restrictions in the regions will be relaxed.

But apart from Victoria and the ACT, all other states and territories are maintaining a hardline approach, fearing a second wave of coronavirus infections.

Western Australia has shut its borders, with only select exemptions available for would-be visitors.

Premier Mark McGowan previously said Western Australia will reopen its border when the “time is right for the health of Western Australians”, pointing out the state had a low rate of infection, whereas eastern states had high rates of infections.

South Australia and Tasmania requires travellers to quarantine, while Northern Territory requires arrivals to undertake and pay for their own quarantine.

Queensland will review the restrictions each month, however travel into the state may not be a reality until September. Source: AAP

NZ travel not likely before interstate trips: Ardern

New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said work on the trans-Tasman bubble is continuing, however she does not expect it to become a reality until Australian states reopen.

"The states haven't opened up to each other yet," she told Radio New Zealand.

"Obviously I would expect to see some of those issues resolved before we'd see them necessarily opening up to New Zealand, and you can understand why.

"People want to be able to travel internally in Australia before they'd expect to be able to come across the ditch."

Last week, federal health minister Greg Hunt said a travel bubble with New Zealand couldn't happen until Australia's state borders opened.

Queensland's plan to reopen borders in September was later than expected, Mr Hunt added.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern believes state borders in Australia will have to open up before the trans-Tasman bubble goes ahead. Source: AP

"Certainly I would imagine a New Zealand bubble could be in place before the 1st of October if not earlier, but I'm just working back from Queensland's dates," he told an Australia Institute webinar.

Federal Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese said no one wanted restrictions to remain longer than necessary, but state governments were making their decisions based on health advice.

Due to the bushfires over the summer, Australia’s tourism industry was already hit hard.

Closing international borders took a toll on the sector, and international arrivals were down 99 per cent compared to last year,  according to data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

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