THE Northern Territory’s existing “hot spot model” is being pushed on to other states and territories as the preferred way to enforce coronavirus border restrictions, the Chief Minister’s office has confirmed.
It comes as Prime Minister Scott Morrison after a national cabinet meeting on Friday confirmed the majority of Australian states and territories have agreed to reopen their borders by Christmas with a hotspot model in place, with only Western Australia refusing.
National cabinet will move to a standardised coronavirus “hot spot model” as part of this plan.
States and territories have not agreed on what exactly constitutes a hotspot yet.
The Commonwealth has proposed that the trigger for consideration of a COVID-19 hotspot in a metropolitan area is a rolling average of 10 locally acquired cases per day, effectively more than 30 cases in three consecutive days.
And in a regional or rural area, the trigger would be an average of three locally acquired cases per day, effectively nine cases in three days.
Mr Morrison also revealed Australia’s national cabinet will not operate as “an absolute consensus” forum, after conflict between the states and territories on the issues of hot spots and border controls during COVID-19.
“We’ve decided that this notion of 100 per cent, absolute consensus on any issue is not a way that the National Cabinet can indeed work,” Mr Morrison said.
“Not everyone has to get on the bus for the bus to leave the station. But it is important the bus leaves the station, and we all agree on that.”
A spokesman for Chief Minister Michael Gunner confirmed in terms of a hot spot model, the NT was technically ahead of the bus, but for the purposes of the metaphor the jurisdiction was also on the bus.
“I’m really happy with how the team is working together and the PM’s leadership has been terrific,” Mr Gunner said.
“We don’t have to agree all the time to stay on the same team. We are all on team Australia.
“The PM knows our hard borders for hot spots policy is the best in the nation. “It’s keeping the Territory the safest place in Australia while also getting Territorians back to work. The Territory is the model for the rest of the nation.”
Mr Morrison said he had also held talks with NZ Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern about the hot spot proposal.
“If there’s no COVID in Christchurch, and there’s no COVID in Queensland, then there’s no reason both of them can’t come to Sydney,” he said.
Mr Gunner shared the Territory’s COVID-19 exit road map with Ms Ardern in May.