Prime Minister Scott Morrison has called for COVID-19 restrictions around the country to be eased in time for people to see their families at Christmas.

Key points:

  • The Prime Minister said the NSW and Victorian premiers were committed to reopening their border as soon as it was considered safe
  • He said National Cabinet’s three-step plan for reopening needed to be revisited
  • Mr Morrison said Australian families and friends should be reunited by Christmas

Mr Morrison told Question Time Victoria had “turned the corner” and states and territories needed to start planning to reopen to the rest of the country.

“By Christmas, Mr Speaker, we should aim for Australians to be able to go to work, to be able to be with their family at Christmas, and to return to visit their friends and to look forward to a positive 2021,” he said.

“We cannot resign Australia to being a dislocated nation under COVID-19.”

The Federal Government has been ramping up pressure on states and territories to open their borders, with Mr Morrison vowing to adopt a national definition of what constitutes a coronavirus “hotspot” regardless of whether other leaders agree.

Queensland’s Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has announced the state’s southern border restrictions will remain in place for all of September while Mark McGowan has warned Western Australia may remain closed off to the rest of the country “for a long time to come yet”.

Tasmania’s borders will stay closed until at least December 1, and South Australia and the Northern Territory also still have restrictions in place.

The Prime Minister said he spoke to the premiers of Victoria and New South Wales last night and they were committed to reopening the border between the two states as soon as it was considered safe.

He argued the three-step plan National Cabinet agreed to in May, before Victoria’s second wave of cases, needed to be revisited.

“There is much to be achieved,” he said.

“There are borders that are in place now, and that is understandable, but what we have to work to do is to let Australians know that by Christmas … they will be able to come together.

“By Christmas … they will be able to come together as families and look to a 2021, Mr Speaker, that doesn’t look like the difficulties that they’ve gone through in 2020.”

The Federal Government has not provided any update on when Australia’s international travel ban will be lifted.

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