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Source: Australian Ministers for Regional Development

7:25AM

MONIQUE WRIGHT

New Zealand has agreed to establish a Trans-Tasman bubble with Australia early next year meaning there would be no need to quarantine when travelling between the two countries. The bubble is conditional on coronavirus levels remaining low but the Australian Government has welcomed the initiative, saying it is the first step back to some normality. Joining us now is the Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack.

Thank you so much for being with us Deputy Prime Minister, we appreciate it. Just how significant will this trans-Tasman bubble be for our post-COVID recovery – people are pretty happy about it?

MICHAEL McCORMACK 

Absolutely happy. It is going to get New Zealanders coming to Australia, of course, for holidays – half a million last year, they brought with them $2.6 billion to the visitor economy. Now, they have already been travelling to Australia since the 12th of October and indeed, 8858 of them have come on 121 flights, but with two-way travel – Australians being able to go to New Zealand – that is the catalyst for a post-COVID recovery. So, that is the first of these international air routes being restored and restarted and it is really exciting, Monique.

MONIQUE WRIGHT

Indeed it is, in the event of an outbreak in either country, what is the threshold here? How many cases do we need to have for this travel bubble to be shut down?

MICHAEL McCORMACK 

Well, of course, we have got that hotspot definition – three cases, over three days, over a ten-day average – and so we’ve got the hotspot definition but it will be letting the COVID cases be very low. Look, we have only had eight cases yesterday in Australia, that is significant. We have only had one death in a number of weeks. We are getting on top of it and of course, with the hope of a vaccine and with people doing the right thing – and I say again to those people, those great Australians, thank you so much for doing everything that you have been asked to do. With the self-isolation, with the quarantining and making sure that you practise social distancing. All of those things are important and so we need to continue to be our best selves. This is a great announcement through the two Governments and we will work towards making it a success.

MONIQUE WRIGHT

Well, I am half New Zealander so I am very happy to hear about this. Delightful stuff. Thank you so much, Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack. 

MICHAEL McCORMACK 

Thanks Monique, all the best. 

ENDS 7:28AM

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