Pressure mounts on Tasmania to join SA and reopen borders

Tasmania’s tourism sector and Labor are calling for the Tasmania Government to follow South Australia’s lead and reopen borders to some states.

Tourism Industry Council Tasmania chief executive Luke Martin said border reopening was urgently needed to help the almost 20,000 Tasmanians who lost their jobs in the past two months.

Labor leader Rebecca White supported the call, saying the state should follow the lead of South Australia.

“South Australia have lifted their borders to other states that they feel confident they can have trade with and have visitors come from because they don’t have any other cases,” she said told The Examiner.

“We should at least be looking to do that and provide a date for when that can occur so that businesses can make decisions about the staff they need to put on and the supplies they need to put in place.”

She also advocated a relaxing of the four-square metre rule for social distancing, saying two-square metres per person was sensible.

“This would increase the number of people they can have in their establishment and help get people back into work,” she said.

“In Tasmania we’ve got the situation where our borders are shut and yet we’ve got the harshest restrictions on how our businesses can operate.”

But Small Business Minister Sarah Courtney said the safety of Tasmanians came before jobs.

“The worst thing that could happen for these small businesses is to have a second wave of coronavirus come to Tasmania and to have these businesses shut down once again,” Courtney said.

“Opening the borders does increase the risk of threats coming in from other jurisdictions and that’s what we’re watching very closely.”