Scott Morrison warns lockdown-happy premiers not to use Australia’s depressing year-long border closure as an excuse to wall off their states too
- Federal Budget predicts international border will stay shut until mid-2022
- But PM insists domestic borders should stay open as much as possible until then
- Many state premiers are quick to shut their borders even over one Covid case
Scott Morrison has warned state premiers to keep Australia’s domestic borders open even while the international ones are closed for another year.
The prime minister said walling off states risked the economic recovery outlined in the federal ‘pandemic Budget’ handed down on Tuesday night.
More than $53 billion in new spending was unveiled in the 2021-22 Budget to get the country out of its coronavirus-induced slump.
Australia’s international border will stay shut to everywhere except New Zealand (pictured) well into 2022 but Scott Morrison wants the state ones open
Mr Morrison fears the spending spree could be all for nothing if states close their borders each time there is a small outbreak interstate.
State and territory leaders are already on high alert after new coronavirus cases in NSW and Victoria in recent days.
‘It is important we keep Australia… as open as possible, because it’s those closures internally that can really risk Australia’s economic recovery,’ Mr Morrison told ABC News on Wednesday.
‘We need to keep creating that confidence, keep providing that support.
‘Australians have done incredibly well throughout the course of this pandemic and we need to keep going.
‘We need to keep going further. And this plan for our recovery will ensure we stay on that course.’
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk is one of the most stubborn premiers when it comes to closing state borders
State and territory leaders are already on high alert after new coronavirus cases in NSW and Victoria in recent days, and Perth (pictured) two weeks ago
Mr Morrison said the international border closures was ‘the reason our economy has been able to perform strongly’.
‘We have allowed our domestic economy continue to grow,’ he added.
‘That is what is driving or jobs growth. It is important we secure Australia from the incursion of Covid-19.’
Several leaders from the business sector disagreed and believe the international border closure will hamstring national economic recovery.
‘We need the skilled workers, we need the international students, we need the migrants and the long-term working holidaymakers to help boost our economy, provide the skills and the export earnings that we need,’ Property Council of Australia chief executive Ken Morrison told The West Australian.
Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry chief executive Jenny Lambert added: ‘The community seems to be coming to expect that we can continue to grow economically, even though we’re a closed shop at the moment.
‘That can’t continue. There’s no way economically that continues.’
Mr Morrison fears the spending spree could be all for nothing if states close their borders each time there is a small outbreak interstate