While the Prime Minister has pledged a reopening of Australian borders – bar Western Australia – by Christmas, NSW could keep its border closed until after December 25.
Back on July 7, Premier Gladys Berejiklian made the decision to close off NSW as cases began to escalate across Victoria, and it has remained closed ever since.
But now that lockdown measures have eased across the Melbourne and the rest of the Garden State, all eyes are on when Ms Berejiklian will reopen her state’s border with Victoria.
On Wednesday, 9News reported that NSW authorities were nervous about the prospect of a third wave in Melbourne, and would be waiting to make a decision on the border until after all systems in Victoria were properly tested.
According to the report, the “tests” would include getting a QR code in place at pubs and restaurants, seeing a reopening at Melbourne’s international airport, and introducing a functioning hotel quarantine system.
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Premier Gladys Berejiklian said it was easy not to have COVID-19 cases when a state was in lockdown. Picture: Damian Shaw/NCA NewsWireSource:News Corp Australia
But Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews said there had been nothing ‘easy’ about his state’s situation. Picture: Daniel Pockett/NCA NewsWireSource:News Corp Australia
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While Ms Berejiklian has been an advocate on the plan to open the country up by Christmas, as well as pushing for Queensland to open its border to NSW, the Premier has remained coy on when the border with Victoria will be lifted.
“We want to open that border (with Victoria) as soon as we can but what is really important to us is to see what happens once the Government eases restrictions down there. That’s the real test,” Ms Berejiklian said this week.
“I knew the real test for NSW is not lockdown, it’s easy not to spread the virus when people have limited mobility, but once you ease restrictions and people start moving around again and start working, that’s the real test and I think the residents of NSW would expect me and my Government to be responsible in how we deal with that.
“So we’ll take the border down as soon as we can, but we do need to wait to see what impact easing of restrictions in Melbourne and Victoria has before we decide exactly when that will be.”
Speaking to media on Thursday, Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews said he understood why NSW would want to wait and see how the lockdown restrictions easing would impact his state.
“I haven’t had a conversation with Gladys [but] she has made it abundantly clear, both
Gladys and her Government, that they want to see how things unfold in the next little while,” he said.
“I don’t think that is an unreasonable thing. I wasn’t surprised to hear that. I will probably have a conversation with her over the next few days to see how we think things are going.
“I get along very well with Gladys and we have got a very important partnership and we will get the border open when it is safe to do so.”
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Melbourne has had the lockdown lifted. Picture: Darrian Traynor/Getty ImagesSource:Getty Images
But when questioned about Ms Gladys’ comments on case numbers being low during lockdown as ‘easy’, Mr Andrews replied that there was nothing ‘easy’ about his state’s situation.
“She had a swipe at Victoria saying it is easy to have zero cases when there is such a big lockdown,” a reporter told Mr Andrews.
“With the greatest of respect to Gladys, there is nothing easy about lockdown and what Victorians have been through,” Mr Andrews replied.
“I’m not interested in having a debate with her or anybody else from this party to be frank. “I’m grateful from the support of NSW, whether it is during bushfires or pandemics, we are always at our best when we work together.”
On Thursday, Victoria recorded three new cases of COVID-19 overnight and no further deaths.
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