Trans-Tasman bubble: Kiwi's trip into Melbourne 'relaxed' amid bubble rules confusion

Andrew Cummings
October 17, 2020

Victoria's border remains open, however the state did not elect to be included in the travel bubble with New Zealand.

The fledgling travel bubble between Australia and New Zealand hit an early snag after 17 passengers who flew into Sydney on Friday caught a connecting flight to Melbourne in an apparent breach of the rules.

The Australian state of Victoria still does not know the names or whereabouts of the group of 17 people who snuck in from New Zealand.

Three worldwide flights from arrived in Sydney yesterday, and for the first time in seven months, incoming travellers from New Zealand are not required to quarantine, provided they are free of symptoms and meet other health requirements.

In an effort to boost tourism, Prime Minister Scott Morrison's government is encouraging visitors from New Zealand, which has crushed community transmission of Covid-19, and says they can enter the country without having to undergo hotel quarantine for 14 days.

The states of Western Australia, Queensland and Tasmania have either closed borders or limited entry which can include quarantine periods, while Victorians are heavily restricted in where they can travel.

But a Melbourne resident, who was returning home after being in New Zealand looking after his sick father, said his interstate travel experience was quite relaxed.

Quarantine flights would be open to passengers who do not meet the Safe Travel Zone criteria and would be required to quarantine on arrival in Australia.

He got into Melbourne easily and wasn't told anything about having to quarantine or be detained. "I told them that I was travelling onto Melbourne, and they said I needed a permit", he said.

The travellers were stopped before they could leave the airport, and are reportedly awaiting the first flight back to Sydney.

"I also called the Department of Human Services on Monday and told them that I meant to transit through Sydney to Melbourne".

Acting Immigration minister Alan Trudge said details of the NZ-NSW travel bubble were discussed at the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee, including how Kiwi arrivals would be treated like any other person in NSW, and could travel between states.

Australian Health Minister Brad Hazzard said all passengers arriving from New Zealand would be kept separate from other arrivals in the airport.

No state, including Victoria, raised concerns about that arrangement at the committee meeting, Tudge said.

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