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Updated: Border closures in every state and territory

written by Adam Thorn | July 22, 2021
Boeing 737 800 at YMML Victor Pody
VH-VZE, a Boeing 737 800, at YMML (Victor Pody)

UPDATED 22 July 2021

Since our last update a few weeks ago, there’s been more changes to Australia’s state borders. We’ve tried to explain the mind-bogglingly confusing rules in plain English, below. Note some states are now barring residents from returning, unless they obtain an exemption.

As ever, please visit the official sites for more detailed information, the latest updates (particularly from so-called hotspots) and directions for any permits or exemptions you might have to apply for.

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Victoria
https://www.dhhs.vic.gov.au/travel-restrictions-covid-19#travel-within-australia
https://www.coronavirus.vic.gov.au/victorian-travel-permit-system

Victoria is now in lockdown. Anyone entering Victoria from anywhere in Australia now needs to apply for a permit here. The state’s traffic light system means that your ability to enter depends on where you’ve travelled from, and whether it’s categorised as red, orange or green.

In a new, significant change, anyone who enters the state after 11:59pm on Tuesday, 20 July 2021 and who has been in a red zone in the 14 days before entry, will require an exemption, exception or eligible permit to enter Victoria. This now includes Victorian residents, meaning they no longer have a right to return home necessarily. Red zones now include all of NSW, the ACT and SA.

The traffic light system:

PROMOTED CONTENT

Those from a red zone cannot enter without an exemption. If you are granted permission to enter, you must self-quarantine for 14 days on your return.

Those travelling from a designated orange zone must apply for a permit to enter Victoria. You cannot apply for a permit if you have coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms, nor if you have visited a red zone. You are allowed to travel through a red zone for the purpose of transit. After arrival, you must take a COVID test within 72 hours of arrival and remain in isolation until you receive a negative result.

Those travelling from a designated green zone must apply for a permit to enter Victoria. You cannot apply for a permit if you have coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms, nor if you have visited either a red or orange zone.

NSW
https://www.nsw.gov.au/covid-19/travel-and-transport-advice
NSW is open to all states, however there are restrictions for those living in Greater Sydney and surrounding areas leaving to visit regional areas. Much of NSW is currently in lockdown.

Queensland
https://www.qld.gov.au/health/conditions/health-alerts/coronavirus-covid-19/current-status/hotspots-covid-19

People who have been in a hotspot in the last 14 days or since the start date identified for the hotspot (whichever is shorter), will only be able to enter the state if they are a returning Queensland resident or required to enter for a limited range of essential reasons. Queensland residents returning to Queensland from a hotspot must quarantine for 14 days on entering Queensland in government arranged accommodation at their own expense

Queensland has declared all of SA and all of Victoria hotspots. All of NSW will be declared a hotspot from Friday, 23 July.

Western Australia
https://www.wa.gov.au/organisation/department-of-the-premier-and-cabinet/covid-19-coronavirus-travel-wa

WA has designated NSW, Victoria, SA and Queensland as medium risk. This means people, including residents, cannot enter WA without an exemption. If you are granted a pass, you must self isolate for 14 days.

ACT
https://www.covid19.act.gov.au/stay-safe-and-healthy/quarantine-and-isolation/quarantine-information-for-people-who-are-well
https://www.covid19.act.gov.au/community/travel
https://www.covid19.act.gov.au/community/travel/nsw

There are currently restrictions in place for travel to and from NSW, Victoria, Queensland and South Australia. Those entering from these areas must self-isolate for 14 days and complete an online declaration form. See exact locations here.

Northern Territory
https://coronavirus.nt.gov.au/travel/quarantine/hotspots-covid-19
The NT has declared much of NSW, Victoria and SA as hotspots. See a list of exact council areas here. Those entering from these areas must quarantine in a “supervised” government facility.

Tasmania
https://coronavirus.tas.gov.au/travellers-and-visitors/essential-travellers
https://coronavirus.tas.gov.au/travellers-and-visitors/coming-to-tasmania
The state has declared SA, Queensland, Victoria and NSW as “high-risk” areas. See a detailed list here. High-risk areas can require either quarantine in a government-designated facility (level 1) or a suitable premises (level 2). Different parts of the aforementioned states are level 1 or level 2.

Otherwise, Tasmania is now open to all other states, though all entrants must complete the Tas e-Travel form.

South Australia
https://www.covid-19.sa.gov.au/restrictions-and-responsibilities/travel-restrictions

SA is currently in lockdown and has now shut its border to all of Victoria, the ACT, NSW and Greater Brisbane. Residents cannot enter at all unless an exemption is obtained.

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52 Comments

  • Andrew Marshall

    says:

    South Australia doesn’t exist?

  • Mark Lazar

    says:

    Dear Adam, I live in South Australia and until today I was pretty sure that state was a part of Australia. Now I have my doubts…

  • John

    says:

    What about SA? A glaring omission!

    • Craig

      says:

      Last paragraph!

  • Rhino

    says:

    Is that the complete list of states and territories?

  • Rhino

    says:

    Is the complete list of states and territories?

  • Peter

    says:

    Hello. South Australia is still here?

  • South Australia

    says:

    No notes on South Australia? Disgrace.

  • Steve of Clare

    says:

    South Australia dropped off the map?

  • DAvid

    says:

    South Aust ?

  • 'John Shepherd

    says:

    Apparently South Australia isnt part of Australia!

  • Dean

    says:

    You’re happy to take money from subscribing South Australians but they don’t even rate a mention in your article.

  • David

    says:

    South Australia ?

  • Daryl Horsfall

    says:

    What about South Australia ?

  • Ken

    says:

    EXPLAINED: BORDER CLOSURES IN EVERY AUSTRALIAN STATE AND TERRITORY……. except SA

  • Mike

    says:

    South Australia?

  • Mike

    says:

    South Australia?

  • David Shone

    says:

    You said that the report included every State. What about South Australia ?

  • Gavin

    says:

    Forget something? South Australia

  • Eugene

    says:

    Useful article but South Australia is missing?

  • Rod Patching

    says:

    Doesn’t South Australia exist .We here,don’t seem to have a pandemic if you go by the usual bias of eastern state news reporting.Thought you guys were above that.

  • CHRIS ROYLANCE

    says:

    WHAT ABOUT SOUTH AUSTRALIAN RESTRICTIONS FOR N.S.W. TRAVELERS

  • Richard Gray

    says:

    Has South Australia just dropped off the map?

  • Gary

    says:

    South Australia?

  • Bryan Pearce

    says:

    Am I not reading correctly or has South Australia been left off the list?

  • Bryan Pearce

    says:

    Oops! I missed it. Saw it after writing the last comment. Apologies

  • Stephen Barnes

    says:

    What about South Australia?

  • Gary

    says:

    South Australia?

    • Adam Thorn

      says:

      To everyone (and there were *a lot* of you!) who commented on this, I’m genuinely sorry we didn’t have SA in! I may be a POM, but I didn’t forget you, I think I just forgot to paste it into our backend from Microsoft Word, and then added it in shortly afterwards.

      I’m going to try and keep this article updated and also repost it from time to time. If you see any mistakes or things I’ve missed, then write down a comment. These rules are ridiculously confusing. I personally think there needs to be some consistency nationwide on these, too.

      Surely it makes no sense that one state expects hotel quarantine, another is happy for you to be at home? And what is the legality around denying citizens the right to return home? I’ll keep my eye on this.

      Thanks,

      Adam

  • jacko

    says:

    Tasmania is delighted to have been mentioned.

  • Patrickk

    says:

    Adam I think you will find in a health emergency you can be directed in various ways to ensure your own and others safety. Note when at home quarantine was in vogue around 15% ignored it. Given the proportion testing positive in hotel quarantine it beggars belief for me that Australian Aviation would be questioning such a proven sensible precaution. As many have said the whole rights thing in this context is a furphy. What about people’s right to have their health and well being protected.

    • Adam Thorn

      says:

      Hi Patrick,

      I haven’t given an opinion on these at all, but just pointed out that it’s very confusing for passengers or residents when there is so much inconsistency between states within one country. We have, worldwide, seen planes literally turn around in mid-air because airlines are confused about the rules. For many passengers, it’s even harder to understand.

      Thanks,

      Adam

      • Patrickk

        says:

        Adam your phase was ‘And what is the legality around denying citizens the right to return home?’ as I said the right to health and safety trumps that one, as do emergency regulations, which can change at short notice. These are not ‘normal’ times.

  • Max

    says:

    Adam I gather from your comments that you would prefer one rule across the entire country to provide clarity for all in the fight against Covid-19.
    Clearly to be SAFE then, the only option is to set all rules to the worst current scenario within Australian borders, ie current rules set out in Victoria should be applied country wide.

  • Anton

    says:

    According to Andrew Marshall, that is incorrect. South Australia DOES EXIST!

  • Brendan Yendall

    says:

    As I live in Victoria and can’t enter nsw can my partner still visit me ? I live country Vic and she lives in Albury. How can we make this work ? It’s getting to much now

    • Adam Thorn

      says:

      Hi Brendan,

      I *think* she can Brendan, but I would urge you to check the official sites. Sorry to hear that, too. I know this is a very tough time for many of our readers.

      Thanks,

      Adam

  • Nyoom

    says:

    RIP South Australia

  • stuart lawrence

    says:

    When qantas goes bankrupt the state premiers and cheif minister can pay the employees enttitlments

  • Graeme Marsland

    says:

    When will our Prime minister wake up that any state that wants to keep their borders closed apparently do not need or deserve jobkeeper or jobseeker payments as apparently their state is doing just fine Quantas tried to tell states they were struggling and they refused to open up now they get criticised for putting off staff and the leader of the Labour Party keeps on about extending payments to all these states .Mark my words when this is all over they will screaming for us to holiday in their states ,it’s all political labour against liberal

  • Marum

    says:

    Thanks Adam. What you have done also, is informed us of the attention span of the average person who posts on the internet. Our attention spans have become alarmingly short. I find lately, that if you cannot provide most, with an answer in half a dozen words, they lose attention.

    Most people on the net, merely read a few lines, and rush into print. SA. gone? Indeed! Not that I am canvassing the matter that it should be. 😉 Under D. Dunstan, even a few of my SA navy mates, reckoned it “shoulda been”. 😛

    At school, in English Comprehension classes, we were taught to read, consider, reread, and then lay out the “skeleton”.
    Then , and only then, write your reply.

    I think this is what makes successful commercial pilots such special animals, they read in detail, and also comprehend.

    Regards….Marum Katze.

  • Mac Carter

    says:

    Those of us of a certain age might remember a plan by Western Australia to secede from the rest of Australia.
    Upon observing the machanisations of the various State governments, including but not limited to the comment by the Queensland Premier that “Queensland Hospitals are for Queenslanders”, one could be forgiven for thinking Australia is a continent of seven countries.
    Hopefully, when the Virus Crisis eventually ends, sanity will once again return with respect to a united Australia.

  • Marum

    says:

    @MacC….God mate! I even remember Prince Leonard of Hutt. WA.
    Founded 21 April 2020.
    WA. would have to be the most parochial state, followed by Queensland. (I am an Queenslander)
    Just look at the way Anastasia Pal-a-no-one goes on, closely followed by Gladys Be-a-jerk-again.

    Honestly. One would wonder if any of these state premiers ever look in a mirror. You can see how, if it were not for the process of democracy, they would soon become tyrants.

    Regards….Marum.

  • Rob

    says:

    The AHPPC are the experts, and they have never recommended the closure of State borders.

  • k

    says:

    Border closures should be considered unconstitutional and the federal government should have the right to override state governments and strike down every border closure! Last time I read, Australia is a country, not an EU-like supranational union of multiple sovereign states sharing the same continent!

  • Nicholas

    says:

    The last 6 months has been all the case needed to get rid of states.

    States have playing appalling politics of the basest level and cost the country billions.

    The majority of State Premiers, with the exception of NSW have panicked and wrecked big chunks of their own states and collectively caused a huge headache for future generations of Australians.

    Many have been cruel and callous and cynical in their management, others have been sheep like and bleated “I’m following the CHO or CMO like sheep as if that was the only factor.

    It’s been an embarrassment to be both a Queenslander in particular, and an Australian.

    If we don’t learn from this shambolic slow moving car smash the country has no hope…

  • Toni noyce

    says:

    SA resident since 21 March, needing to return to Batemans Bay NSW, after fire destroyed our home. Checking to see if we can do this now. Thanks.

  • Warwick

    says:

    To Stuart Lawrence, above…..

    To quote you, ‘when QANTAS goes bankrupt’. Really? Don’t know who’s feeding you that falsehood, but you should really get your facts’ straight, before outlandishly commenting.
    That won’t be happening, due multiple reasons’.

    The only airline that’s ‘bankrupt’ is Virgin, who’s been in that state for months’ now. They were just about to shutdown, when COVID-19 struck the final blow.
    Why do you think NZ bowed out from them Oct 2019?

    Bain’s not signed off on their purchase yet. Still along way to go. That’s why its’ former CEO & CFO are still working, trying to sort out the huge mess that is its’ finances, or lack thereof.
    No supplier will allow ‘credit’ to them now, & possibly into the future.

    • Alan

      says:

      Go on, amuse us…give some of the reasons why QF cannot go bankrupt?

  • Bruce Robinson

    says:

    In 1788 Captain Arthur Phillip became Governor of New South Wales, which at that time included all of present Australia except Western Australia. It also included New Zealand!! The Colonial Office in its wisdom (!) subsequently approved NZ to leave and separate colonies to be established – Tasmania was the first then others followed and the results of this are the States as these are now. Now all of this was fine until something really went wrong as it has now, and the States have decided to do their own thing, to the detriment of the country and its citizens. I am currently a resident of Queensland but have been a resident of NSW, Victoria and the ACT (as well as some overseas countries), but I am a citizen of AUSTRALIA!!!

  • Listening to the WA Premier today bragging about how his state was “carrying” the other states, how the WA isolation strategies were somehow superior, totally ignoring the accident of geography. So, someone living in Albury NSW, or Grafton, both situated 600km from Sydney’s Northern beaches, is now banned from WA unless you are prepared to quarantine for 14 days on arrival.

  • Patrickk

    says:

    Why ‘so called hotspot’. Are you suggesting the northern beaches is not a hot spot. They are so labelled by governments. One thinks that Australian aviation thinks Australian governments are over reacting such as references to sensible precautions as being ‘bizarre’. Good to check what is happening in the rest of tge world right now. These places called hotspots are exactly that.

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