QUESTION: Interstate travel

In Question Time today, Mark asked the Minister for Health whether South Australians returning from holiday in Tasmania will have to quarantine in South Australia after border restrictions are lifted on 26 October 2020.


The Hon. M.C. PARNELL: Something I think many Australians are getting excited about is the ability to travel again interstate. I note that much of the advice that is available online is still either conflicting or incomplete. For example, we know that Tasmania is opening up their borders from 26 October. What the Tasmanian government says on its website is:

Based on current public health advice, people travelling from low-risk jurisdictions from October 26 will be able to continue to transit directly though Victoria (only stopping for fuel) to Melbourne Airport or the Spirit of Tasmania terminal and not be subject to quarantine requirements that apply to that jurisdiction.

In other words, you can drive from Adelaide to Melbourne Airport or the Spirit of Tasmania terminal, you can then get on a plane or a boat to Tasmania and you will not have to quarantine. But what I am unable to find from any South Australian Government website is information on when you turn around and come back the same way. For example, if you fly back to Melbourne, pick up your car from the long-term car park or you get the ferry back to Melbourne, and then you front up at the border on the Western Highway, are you going to be made to quarantine for two weeks in South Australia because you have been through Victoria?

I know that there are some provisions that relate to people transiting, but they appear to only apply to people transiting through South Australia—for example, to Northern Territory or another state.

My question is: when these border restrictions are lifted on 26 October, will South Australians returning from holiday in Tasmania have to quarantine in South Australia?

The Hon. S.G. WADE (Minister for Health and Wellbeing): I will attempt an answer but, as always, on something as important as public health advice, I will check it and get back to the member. There is significant inconsistency between the border controls in place in different jurisdictions. We don't apologise for that. We have the world's best public health team and we are going to take their advice.

Some of the transit issues that I might reflect on in answering the honourable member's question are that the State Coordinator has issued a direction which allows people travelling from New South Wales to South Australia to drive the stretch of road through Mildura, which is part of Victoria, and not have to quarantine on their return or, to be frank, to give them entry to South Australia in the first place. They are required to transit and not stop and so, by analogy, it would be a very challenging task, I think, to expect people to come off the Spirit of Tasmania in Melbourne and then drive right through to Adelaide without stopping, and that is not permitted—definitely, that is not permitted.

In terms of—I won't use the words 'foreign ports' as that might really make the Prime Minister cross—interstate airports we have different rules for different airports. For example, in New South Wales, I think even before we lifted the border we allowed transiting from Queensland through the Sydney Airport to Adelaide but my understanding, and this is the bit that I'm very keen to verify for the member, is that we are still not allowing transit through the Tullamarine Airport. If you arrive on a flight from a low-transmission zone into the Melbourne Airport and then transit on to Adelaide, first of all, you may not be entitled to enter and, if you are entitled to enter, you would be subject to quarantine.