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Tasmania flags earlier border opening


Tasmania could reopen its borders to coronavirus-safe states and territories by the end of October, several months ahead of schedule.

The island state had previously flagged December 1 as its opening date, depending on public health advice.

On Friday, Premier Peter Gutwein said the state controller was looking at bringing that date forward for the Northern Territory, ACT, South Australia, Western Australia, Queensland and possibly NSW.

Victoria remains off the list.

“We’ll continue to work through that and obviously the circumstances of each of those jurisdictions is what will inform our decision,” he said.

“If you look at the virus and where it’s at in other states and our preparedness, I think there is a good chance we could open towards the end of [October].”

Tasmania, which has no active COVID-19 cases, will increase limits on outdoor crowds from 500 to 1000 next Friday.

Mr Gutwein also announced relaxations to border controls for fly-in-fly-out and seasonal workers.

From midnight on Sunday, fly-in-fly-out workers in mainland low-risk areas will be allowed to return home, provided they haven’t spent time in Victoria or other hotspots.

From next week, seasonal workers will be allowed to enter Tasmania under “COVID-safe” conditions and strict rules requiring them to stay at the farm properties they work.

“Our priority will remain on Tasmanians being first in line for these jobs … but we will need seasonal workers in the state,” Mr Gutwein said.

“Importantly, the industry needs the certainty to know that they will have a workforce when they need one.”

-AAP



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