The Chief Minister has given us greater insight into the return of interstate travel for Canberrans, as we prepare to emerge from lockdown on Friday.
Andrew Barr said he has every expectation that free travel arrangements will be in place between the ACT, NSW and Victoria come December 1.
“People can definitely make Christmas and summer holiday plans for the South Coast and Victoria based on current vaccination rates.”
However, Mr Barr said between then and the lifting of lockdown in the ACT on October 15, there will be a staged return to how far Canberrans can travel beyond the Territory for non-essential activities.
“It will be somewhat dependent on the decision of the New South Wales and Victorian Government.”
The Chief Minister said he will be able to provide greater certainty about the ACT’s requirements on Canberrans heading interstate closer to the time of when those rules will be relaxed.
However, Mr Barr did say that an expansion of the current NSW postcodes, that aren’t required to seek exemption prior to entering the ACT, will be the first in a three step plan to ease travel restrictions and should take effect from October 15.
There’s still no certainty about which parts of New South Wales will be included in the expansion at this stage but Mr Barr said it will be a sensible extension of the current limits.
“It will be greater than the current number of postcodes but not significantly greater, it’s not going to stretch up to the Hunter Valley or Sydney.”
It’s expected those travel arrangements will remain in place for the proceeding two weeks before moving to step two which would allow even greater travel into the regions.
“By which point, we anticipate that both NSW and the ACT will have crossed over 80% of each populations being fully vaccinated – that will then trigger another increase in freedom of movement.” Mr Barr said.
The Chief Minister said the ACT would work closely with NSW in order to align travel requirements between the two jurisdictions where it is safe to do so.
However until then, the Government remains focused on vaccinating as many Canberrans as possible before the lockdown ends on Friday.
Barr’s Border Timeline:
First step: Standing exemptions with NSW postcodes expanded (middle of October)
Second step: Even greater travel further into the regions (end of October)
Third step: Free travel (Late November/early December)