Queensland is coming under increasing pressure to open its state borders as the federal government talks up the prospects of a “travel bubble” across the Tasman.
Tourism Minister Simon Birmingham said he would not allow fortified states to become an obstacle to the deal.
“New Zealand is obviously the first, and right now only, international market that we could safely agree to open up to,” he told Nine newspapers on Monday.
“If New Zealand and some Australian states are ready and willing to progress, then the reluctance of other states to open up their domestic borders shouldn’t become an obstacle to progress.”
NSW will reopen its borders to interstate visitors from June 1.
But apart from Victoria and the ACT, all other states and territories are maintaining a hardline approach, fearing a second wave of coronavirus infections.
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has said she will consider lifting travel restrictions at the end of the month, but warned the state’s borders could be shut until September.
Labor frontbencher Jim Chalmers said the sunshine state had been a success story in containing the virus.
“It’s come from the premier making difficult decisions based on the firm advice of the medical community,” the Queenslander told ABC radio.
“I think all of us want to see the borders safely reopened … something like every 10th job in my home state relies in one way or another on tourism.”