The prime minister said the government’s medical experts had been tasked with coming up with a framework to give travel freedom to Australians who have received both doses of the jab.
Mr Morrison said the plan was still ‘some time away’ from becoming reality but was the next step in relaxing the country’s strict border closures during the pandemic.
He said the first in line for quarantine-free travel would be those going abroad for important reasons like funerals and business.
A registered nurse receives a Covid-19 vaccine in February. Scott Morrison has raised hopes Australians vaccinated against the virus will be allowed to go overseas and return home without undergoing hotel quarantine
Those groups of travellers would still have to self-isolate at home on arrival back into Australia.
‘What I’d like to see happen next, and this is what I’ve tasked the medical experts with, is ensuring we can know when an Australian is vaccinated here with their two doses, is able to travel overseas and return without having to go through hotel quarantine,’ he told 6PR Perth on Thursday.
‘Now, I think we’re still some time away from that.
‘The states, at this stage, I’m sure wouldn’t be agreeing to relaxing those hotel quarantine arrangements for those circumstances at this point in time.’
He had earlier told a community forum in Perth the data indicated home-based quarantine did not lead to a significantly higher number of cases than isolating in a hotel.
‘The data was showing that home-based quarantine was not creating any additional, scaled risks, that could lead to something more significant,’ he said.
Mr Morrison pictured on Thursday. He said vaccinated Australians going overseas for important reasons like funerals and business would be first in line for quarantine-free travel
‘That is how we move to the next step.’
He said the plan would have to receive the support of the state premiers to become a reality.
Mr Morrison said the total re-opening of Australia’s borders was still some way off.
He said Australians had become used to recording days of zero community transmission but that would need to change if restrictions were lifted too quickly.
‘If we were to lift the borders and people were to come, then you would see those cases increase,’ he said.
‘Australians would have to become used to dealing with a thousand cases a week or more.’
Mr Morrison said states and territories would need to get on the same page about acceptable virus levels when travel restarts.
Australian Medical Association president Omar Khorshid said vaccinations would be the country’s way out of the health crisis.
‘We don’t have COVID now, but COVID is coming,’ he told ABC radio.
A passenger receives a temperature check from NSW Health officials after arriving on Flight VA849 from Melbourne at Sydney Domestic Airport in Sydney in February
Passengers at Sydney Airport in February. Mr Morrison said the total re-opening of Australia’s borders was still some way off
‘We cannot keep this virus out of Australia forever unless we become a true island nation with no travel.’
His comments came during a trip to Western Australia’s Pilbara region, where he lauded the state’s resources industry for propping up the economy during one of the nation’s toughest years.
Mr Morrison inspected an ore processing facility, climbed aboard an autonomous truck and was shown an enormous solar farm that helps power the Christmas Creek and nearby Cloudbreak mines.
The Prime Minister was given a tour of Fortescue Metals Group’s Christmas Creek mining operations (pictured on Thursday)
WA’s resources sector reported record sales of $174billion in 2020 and a record 140,940 people are working in the industry.
‘One of the reasons I was so keen to get to WA this week was to say thank you to Western Australians,’ Mr Morrison told reporters.
‘The earnings that you’ve been able to generate in one of Australia’s toughest years has kept our economy going.
‘The way the Australian economy is coming out of this COVID pandemic recession, in large part we can say thank you to the resources industry, especially here in Western Australia.’
Scott Morrison thanked the WA resource industry for propping up the economy during 2020
Fortescue has set a target of achieving carbon neutrality by 2030, exceeding Australia’s goal of ‘preferably’ reaching net-zero emissions by 2050.
The company’s drive into renewables at Christmas Creek and Cloudbreak will replace the use of 100 million litres of diesel per year.
‘I’m very passionate and proud of what Australians are doing to change the technology that enables them to achieve great things,’ Mr Morrison said.
‘And energy is central to that, it is the thing that drives our economy – it always has – and we need to change gear over the next 30 years. And that’s exactly what’s happening.’
Mr Morrison was due to meet workers at a mining camp on Thursday evening.
He will head to Kalbarri on Friday to inspect the widespread damage inflicted by Tropical Cyclone Seroja.