The Australian border is likely to stay closed to international travellers until next year, said Australia’s Tourism Minister Simon Birmingham, according to a report from ABC News.

“I do sadly think that in terms of open tourist-related travel in or out of Australia, that remains quite some distance off,” Birmingham told the National Press Club of Australia, according to the report.

“Just because of the practicalities of the volumes that are involved and the need for us to first and foremost keep putting health first,” he added.

ABC News then asked whether that meant the border would not open until next year, Birmingham said, “I think that is more likely the case”.

Trans-Tasman travel bubble

The Australian government is working on some exceptions to Australia’s border closure.

One of these exceptions is allowing travel between Australia and New Zealand. However, according to ABC News, there is still no timeframe on when this might happen.

Birmingham also suggested that some business travel may also be open up, ABC News reported

“I hope that we can look eventually at some of those countries who have similar successes in suppressing the spread of Covid to Australia and New Zealand, and in working through that with those countries, find safe pathways to deal with essential business travel that helps to contribute to jobs across our economies,” Birmingham told ABC News. 

Qantas cancels flights 

Australia’s flag carrier said it has cancelled most of its international flights, other than some flights to New Zealand, up until late October.  

Qantas cancels most international flights until late October