The details surrounding Australia’s borders were mentioned 36-pages into the document, and states that international travel will “remain low” until mid-2022.
“Inbound and outbound international travel is expected to remain low through to mid-2022, after which a gradual recovery in international tourism is assumed to occur,” the papers say.
“The rate of international arrivals will continue to be constrained by state and territory quarantine caps over 2021 and the first half of 2022, with the exception of passengers from Safe Travel Zones.”
Australia risks becoming "the lost kingdom"
The plans were met with anger from the tourism sector about a lack of support in the budget.
The industry wants a clear calendar for when borders will open, Tourism and Transport Forum chief executive Margy Osmond told reporters after Tuesday's announcement.
"No timetable condemns us virtually to being the lost kingdom of the South Pacific when the rest of the world is opening up," she said.
"We will see more job losses and we will see many many business failures."
Australian Chamber-Tourism chair John Hart said budget funding for zoos and aquariums, consumer travel and Tourism Australia will fall short without a plan to open Australia.
"It is vital for the government to begin a staged opening as soon as possible, given the stimulus measures (in the budget)," he said.
"Businesses need certainty and this is especially important after state border lockdowns battered the sector in 2020/21."
"We'll be lucky to have a tourism industry to welcome international tourists back into the country," Ms Osmond said.
The dates are a far cry from the schedule Qantas CEO Alan Joyce was aiming for - telling reporters last month it was “still a possibility” that international flights could resume again at the end of October.
"We haven't walked away from October," he told reporters on April 14.
"We are getting ready and still planning, and it's our best guess at the end of October for the market to open up."
Finance Minister Simon Birmingham said trying to predict the reopening of Australia's border to the rest of the world was an "imprecise business".
But he said it would be done "as early as possible but no sooner than it is safe to do so”.
The budget papers said “effective containment of Covid-19 outbreaks” in Australia and overseas would be a “key factor” in the reopening of international borders.
Vaccine rollout to speed up
The cautious approach on travel comes as the government revealed it would spend an extra $1.9 billion over the coming year to boost its Covid-19 vaccine supply to 170 million doses and speed up the rollout.
As well, the budget papers confirmed a plan to investigate domestic manufacturing of mRNA vaccines.
The plan - led by the federal industry and health departments - would complement the existing CSL facility in Melbourne, which makes the AstraZeneca viral vector vaccine. It would also ensure Australia is not at risk of blockages of supply from overseas.
The budget papers said a funding figure could not be put on the project due to "commercial in confidence sensitivities".
The Howard Springs facility in the Northern Territory, which is housing Australians returning from overseas, will cost $487 million over two years as it is expanded to 2000 places.
Part of the cost will be offset from people paying for their stay at the facility.
There will also be $879 million provided over two years to support access to health care services and reduce the risk of community transmission of COVID-19.
The funding covers subsidising testing and detection of the virus, telehealth services and operating dedicated commonwealth respiratory clinics.
The budget sets aside $37.1 million over two years to support India with urgently needed medical supplies.
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