Australia’s COVID-19 state border restrictions are easing. Here are the rules for travelling to Queensland, ACT, NSW and beyond

Noble Horvath

Queensland will allow 152,000 more people living along the state’s southern border to enter, as South Australia also moves to ease coronavirus restrictions for New South Wales travellers. SA’s Chief Public Health Officer Nicola Spurrier said zero community transmission of COVID-19 in NSW for 14 days had prompted the decision […]

Queensland will allow 152,000 more people living along the state’s southern border to enter, as South Australia also moves to ease coronavirus restrictions for New South Wales travellers.

SA’s Chief Public Health Officer Nicola Spurrier said zero community transmission of COVID-19 in NSW for 14 days had prompted the decision to reopen.

Meanwhile, Queensland’s Chief Health Officer Jeannette Young said if there continued to be very low or no new coronavirus cases in the state’s southern neighbour, restrictions could be further relaxed from Friday.

With everything changing once again, here’s the latest recap of who can and can’t travel freely throughout the country.

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People living in 41 more NSW postcodes can apply for a border pass to travel into Queensland from next month.

Can I travel to Queensland from ACT?

From September 25, you can if no new cases emerge in the ACT before then.

You won’t have to quarantine when you arrive in Queensland, as long as you haven’t been through a COVID-19 hotspot in the fortnight preceding your arrival.

Catch up on the main COVID-19 news from September 23 with our coronavirus blog.

As far as its advice goes, the ACT Government simply tells residents “to reconsider the need for any unnecessary travel to COVID-affected areas”.

That means all of Victoria and parts of Greater Sydney are best avoided for ACT residents.

What about travelling to the ACT?

For those travelling to the nation’s capital, there are directions to be followed if you have recently been in Victoria or some areas of Greater Sydney or Queensland.

If that’s you, then the ACT Government asks you to not visit or work in high-risk settings, like hospitals, aged care home, and correctional facilities for 14 days after arriving.

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Casey Briggs goes through the latest coronavirus figures, saying the recent trends are encouraging.

Can you travel to Queensland from NSW without quarantining?

From some parts of NSW, you can.

From October 1, people living in 41 more New South Wales postcodes will be able to apply for a border pass to travel into Queensland.

Residents in Byron Bay, Ballina, Lismore, Richmond Valley and Glen Innes local government areas are the most recent areas to be added to the zone, which extends as far south as Moree.

Queensland residents will also be allowed to travel into these NSW “border bubble” regions.

For Queenslanders who want to enter the NSW bubble, they will need to apply for a Border Declaration Pass through the Queensland Government website.

As long as Queenslanders do not travel beyond the bubble, they will not need to quarantine when they return home.

However, if they do venture outside of the bubble, they will face a 14-day quarantine at their own expense when they return home.

The changes come after the state recorded zero new coronavirus cases overnight, leaving just 16 active cases.

In NSW, Tuesday was the first time in more than 70 days no new locally acquired cases were found.

Queensland COVID-19 snapshot:

When will travel restrictions lift completely between Queensland and NSW?

There’s been no official date but today, Dr Young said more restrictions could be relaxed from this Friday if the number of infections stayed low in NSW.

Can you travel from NSW to Queensland via ACT?

You can, but you will have to quarantine once you arrive in Queensland.

Unless you’ve gone from a NSW border zone area to the ACT without going through any other part of NSW, which is probably only possible by aircraft.

ACT travellers will have to fill out a border declaration form, confirming they haven’t been in NSW or Victoria, to enter Queensland.

What about travelling from SA to NSW?

SA will reopen its borders to NSW at midnight on Wednesday, as long as there is no community transmission of coronavirus reported in NSW today.

As well as being able to enter SA, NSW residents will no longer have to quarantine for 14 days.

People in self-isolation after entering from NSW will have to finish their fortnight’s quarantine, unlike people entering from the ACT from last week.

If you’re travelling into SA, you’ll still be required to complete an online approval form.

If you’re in Victoria, you can only enter SA if you are an essential traveller or live within 40 kilometres of the SA border.

Where can Victorians travel to?

A sign saying no entry to nsw big fines next to a sign saying welcome to albury.
There are exceptions for people who live in places like Albury-Wodonga that straddle the state line.(ABC News: Greg Ryan)

Unfortunately, residents of Victoria are still not allowed to travel to other states and territories unless they meet one of three criteria — holding an exemption, being an essential worker or living along a state border.

Applications can be made to the respective states, but given Victoria’s designation as a hotspot, it could be tough.

Even then, those granted access to NSW under a border region resident permit cannot go further into the state than the border region.

“You’ll need to apply for a NSW resident’s permit to re-enter NSW (requiring a flight to Sydney Airport and quarantine),” the NSW Government says.

Travellers from other states can enter Victoria

Victoria’s Department of Health and Human Services website reads: “No permit or approval is required to enter Victoria from another state — however, you will need to adhere to the restrictions and directions that are in place to slow the spread of coronavirus in Victoria.”

Who can travel to Western Australia without quarantining?

No-one, other than exempt travellers.

Everyone else has to quarantine for 14 days before they’ll be allowed to move about in the state freely.

Exempt travellers include Commonwealth workers, truck drivers, emergency service workers, federal politicians and dependents.

Transport and freight workers will have to prove they have tested negative to COVID-19 in the five days prior to their arrival.

And if you’re planning to travel from Victoria or NSW to WA, you won’t be allowed in without written approval from the state emergency coordinator.

What about travelling to Tasmania?

There are some exemptions for seasonal and FIFO workers.

Otherwise, the Tasmanian Government will consider bringing forward the date for easing coronavirus border restrictions to the end of October.

Premier Peter Gutwein said if controls were relaxed, travellers from WA, SA, QLD the NT, ACT, and possibly NSW, may be able to visit, but that depends on advice from the state controller, which is expected over the coming weeks.

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