Not safe to open Australian borders: PM

CANBERRA (XINHUA) – Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has declared that it remains unsafe to re-open the country’s international borders.

Morrison yesterday rejected calls from politicians and business leaders to ease Australia’s strict border restrictions earlier than currently planned, saying it is “not safe” to do so. The federal budget for 2021-22, which was handed down earlier in May, contained assumptions that Australia’s borders will not re-open until mid-2022.

“It is not safe to take those next steps right now,” Morrison told reporters yesterday. “It’s not one day the borders are open, one day the borders are closed. That’s not how it works. There is a sliding sort of scale here, and we’re working on the next steps.

“But the key thing is the overall border arrangements; they remain in place until it’s safe to do anything different.”

He said that the next steps would be affording fully vaccinated Australians greater travel freedom and facilitating the return of international students and migrant workers to Australia.

Morrison’s remarks come as an opinion poll revealed widespread support for border restrictions. The latest Newspoll, which was published on Sunday night, found that 73 per cent of voters support the government’s approach to borders and agree they should remain closed until mid-2022.

Airport workers walk past a notice board at Sydney Airport in Sydney, Australia. PHOTO: XINHUA