Barton Deakin Brief: COVID-19 National Cabinet Update
2 July 2021
Today, Prime Minister Scott Morrison convened the 45th meeting of the National Cabinet.
The First Ministers will create a national plan to transition from the strategies that have seen the country through the pandemic to date. National Cabinet gave in-principle approval to the Prime Minister’s proposed four phase plan, with each phase triggered by a vaccination threshold.
The National Cabinet will next meet on 9 July.
Four Phase Plan
|Phase A||Vaccinate, prepare, pilot|
|· Everyone who wants a vaccine will be offered one
· Reduce commercial return traveller flights
· Increase Government repatriation flights
· Lockdown only as a last resort
· Trial home quarantine
· Expand student and worker entry visas
|· Ease restrictions and frequency of border closures
· Lockdowns only in extreme circumstances
· Lift international flight caps
· Higher caps for vaccinated travellers
· Higher caps for student and work visas
· Reduced quarantine for vaccinated Australians
· Implement a vaccine booster program
|· No lockdowns
· All vaccinated residents exempt from all domestic restrictions
· No restriction on outbound travellers who have been vaccinated
· Increase student, worker and humanitarian visa numbers
· Travel bubbles with specific countries (Singapore, the Pacific)
|Phase D||Final Phase|
|· Uncapped arrivals for all vaccinated travellers, without quarantine
· Uncapped arrival for all unvaccinated travellers subject to pre-flight and on-arrival testing
Australia has administered 7,970,153 doses of COVID vaccine. Based on the recent numbers, 30 per cent of the Australian adult population has had a first dose, which includes 50 per cent of over 50-year-olds and 70 per cent of over 70-year-olds. The Government is preparing for a vaccine booster program as part of phase B.
The Government plans to recognise and adopt the Medicare digital vaccination certificate for practical purposes, which is automatically generated when someone receives their vaccine. This will enable authentication of vaccination records at the border.
International arrivals will be temporarily cut by 50 per cent from 14 July until 31 August to reduce the strain on the quarantine system in light of the delta strain of the virus. However, the Commonwealth will increase repatriation flights to the national quarantine centre in Howard Springs to cover the commercial flight shortfall. Of the International arrivals, 83.9 per cent are Australians returning home, but there are 34,000 Australians still overseas.
The Government will trial alternative quarantine options for return travellers who have been fully vaccinated, including home quarantine and shorter quarantine periods. Trials will continue for student visa holders.
|Brisbane||500 (plus 150 surge capacity)|
National Partnership on COVID-19 Response
The Government will extend the National Partnership Agreement through to 30 June 2022, continuing the cost-sharing for expenses relating to health services and managing the pandemic. The Commonwealth will give the states an additional $752 million, taking cumulative Commonwealth support to $5.765 billion.
International Freight Subsidy Scheme
The Government will extend the international freight subsidy scheme.
For more information
See the Prime Minister’s media release here.
For more information, contact David Alexander on +61 457 400 524, Grahame Morris on +61 411 222 680, Cheryl Cartwright on +61 419 996 066, Jack de Hennin on +61 424 828 127, or John Fitzgerald on +61 488 111 568.