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Updated: Border closures in every state and territory

written by Hannah Dowling | October 25, 2021
Boeing 737 800 at YMML Victor Pody
VH-VZE, a Boeing 737 800, at YMML. (Victor Pody)

UPDATED 25 October

With many states finally gearing up to ease their state border restrictions in the coming weeks – with the notable exception of Western Australia – it’s high time we released an update on the current state of play.

Thanks to Australia’s fast-paced and well-received vaccination rollout that has blown the likes of the US and UK out of the water, most Australians will be able to reunite with loved ones across state lines in time for Christmas and book their long-awaited summer holiday trips.

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As ever, please visit the official sites for more detailed information and the latest updates.

Victoria
https://www.service.vic.gov.au/services/border-permit/home

https://www.coronavirus.vic.gov.au/victorian-travel-permit-system

While anyone entering into Victoria from interstate still need to apply for a permit, as of 25 October, nearly the entire country – apart from Greater Sydney and Canberra – falls into the ‘green zone’ category.

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Travellers from a green zone are allowed to enter, with the appropriate permit, with no testing or quarantine requirements.

Meanwhile, Sydney and Canberra are now categorised as ‘orange zones’.

Fully vaccinated travellers entering from an orange zone will also be allowed to enter Victoria without testing or quarantine requirements, while non-vaccinated travellers from an orange zone will need to isolate upon arrival in Victoria, get a COVID-19 test, and isolate until a negative result.

While nowhere in Victoria is currently considered a ‘red zone’, the Victorian government announced earlier this month that fully vaccinated travellers from red zones will be allowed to enter the state, provided they return a negative result from a test taken no more than 72 hours prior to entry.

Once they enter, they must isolate, get tested again within 72 hours, and stay isolated until they get a negative result.

Victoria achieved its 70 per cent vaccination target on 22 October, which provided Victorians with greater freedoms, including ending the 8pm curfew. Restrictions are set to further ease from Friday 29 October, when the state reaches the coveted 80 per cent vaccination target.

From 29 October, regional travel between Metropolitan Melbourne and the rest of the state will once again be freely allowed.

NSW
https://www.nsw.gov.au/covid-19/travel-and-transport-advice

NSW currently only has its border shut to Victoria. Until 1 November, all people travelling from Victoria in NSW will have to quarantine at home for 14 days.

After 1 November, unvaccinated travellers will not be permitted to enter NSW from Victoria without an exemption, however fully vaccinated persons will be able to move freely between the states.

Interstate visitors from all other states can currently enter NSW, however, they will need to abide by local restrictions. Currently, lockdown restrictions have eased dramatically for fully vaccinated individuals. Check the link above for details.

Until 1 November, people within Greater Sydney are not permitted to visit regional NSW.

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. Residents returning to Queensland from a hotspot must quarantine for 14 days on entering Queensland in government-arranged accommodation at their own expense.

Currently, all of NSW, Victoria, the ACT and the Jervise Bay Territory are considered COVID-19 hotspots. Tasmania fell off the hotspot list as of 1am AEST Tuesday 19 October.

As it stands, Queensland will reopen its state and international borders by at least 17 December – after the state hits its 80 per cent vaccination target.

Queensland is on track to reach 70 per cent vaccination as of 19 November, which will allow fully vaccinated interstate travellers to enter from a COVID hotspot by air only. They will be required to provide a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours of travel and enter mandatory 14 days home quarantine.

After 17 December, double-jabbed travellers will no longer be required to quarantine upon arrival and can travel into Queensland via air or road. A negative COVID-19 test will still be required ahead of travel.

Western Australia

https://www.wa.gov.au/organisation/covid-communications/covid-19-coronavirus-controlled-border

Western Australia continues to enforce the harshest state border restrictions in the country, and all travellers must apply for a G2G pass before entering the state.

At time of writing, only travellers from the Northern Territory, Tasmania and South Australia are named ‘very low risk’, and therefore allowed to enter WA without any quarantine requirement.

As of late Monday, Queensland was once again also reverted to ‘very low risk’, meaning that from 12:01am on Wednesday, October 27, travellers from the Sunshine State will also be able to enter WA without quarantine.

ACT is designated as ‘medium risk’, meaning an exemption is required to enter, and a 14-day home quarantine must be performed.

Both NSW and Victoria are deemed ‘extreme risk’. Under this category, very few arrivals are offered exemptions, with those that are required to be fully vaccinated, present a negative COVID-19 PCR test before travel, and then enter into 14-day hotel quarantine.

Unlike other states that have pledged to reopen state borders and reunite families for Christmas, WA Premier Mark McGowan has said that his state will remain closed to any state that poses a COVID-19 risk until at least early next year.

ACT
https://www.covid19.act.gov.au/travel/entering-the-act

The ACT has declared all of NSW and Victoria as a ‘COVID-19 Affected Area’, meaning non-ACT residents will require an approved exemption from ACT Health prior to arriving in the ACT, and will also enter quarantine for 14 days.

From midday 16 October, the ACT government relaxed quarantine requirements for Canberrans travelling to and from certain areas of regional NSW, including the NSW South Coast and the Southern Highlands.

The country’s capital also requires anyone who has been at a COVID-19 exposure site in any state in the last 14 days to complete an online declaration form ahead of travel. ACT residents considered a ‘close contact’ in another state will be required to quarantine on arrival in the ACT, while non-ACT residents will need to apply for an exemption to enter the state.

ACT Health revealed this week that from 1 November, Canberra will once again open its borders to travellers from Victoria, regardless of vaccination status.

Northern Territory
https://coronavirus.nt.gov.au/travel/quarantine/hotspots-covid-19
The NT has declared the ACT, NSW and Victoria as COVID-19 hotspots, meaning non-Territorians will require an exemption to enter the state.

All travellers entering from a declared hotspot must quarantine in a “supervised” government facility.

Chief Minister Michael Gunner announced that from 23 November, fully vaccinated travellers entering from a domestic COVID-19 hotspot will be able to instead enter a 14-day home quarantine.

Tasmania
https://coronavirus.tas.gov.au/travellers-and-visitors/coming-to-tasmania

The Tasmanian government has named ACT, NSW, Victoria, Queensland and SA as ‘high risk’ areas.

Anyone coming into the state from a high-risk area must receive an exemption as an Essential Traveller and undergo a 14-day quarantine in a government-managed facility.

Travellers from the NT or WA are allowed. However, they must register their travel and contact details through the Tas e-travel system ahead of travel.

Tasmania has announced that fully vaccinated interstate and international arrivals will be allowed to enter Tasmania without quarantine from 15 December, when the state expects 90 per cent of its population 12-plus year-olds will be fully vaccinated.

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

South Australia currently has its border shut to NSW, the ACT, and Victoria – with the exception of some towns on the border of Victoria or SA.

Residents, or any other traveller, must apply for an exemption before travelling into the state, and then complete home quarantine for 14 days, with tests on days one, five and 13.

South Australia is yet to reveal its roadmap to reopen borders with the Eastern states.

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58 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…

    • Orthoped

      says:

      Not part of Australia, but there is no united country anymore, just separate “parts” or former parts of

  • 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.

    • phodge

      says:

      Sorry, but that at best would be wishful thinking! Oz has never been a single country and while its politics is dominated by conservatives will remain six countries and two vassal statez. The ALP was the only party which proposed reform when the government of Gough Whitlam wanted to eliminate the states and create regional governments (in 1974, as I remember). In their ignorance, the Oz electorate threw out this reforming government…and here we are now, stuck with a dysfuntional system!

  • 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.

  • Tam

    says:

    I thought WA will be reviewing the reclassification of QLD from ‘low risk’ to ‘very low risk’ today??

    • Hannah Dowling

      says:

      Hi Tam, that news came through last night after writing this one up – I have updated the article to reflect these changes! Things move fast, don’t they! Thanks for the heads up.

  • Jazz

    says:

    What would happen if someone wants to go to QLD for 3 days after Nov 17, can they travel back? The restrictions says they need to Quarantine at home for 14 days….

  • Chris

    says:

    Australia’s vaccination rate hasn’t blown the US or UK out of the water. We’re just fudging the numbers by only counting people over 16 (even though we’re now vaccination 12 and up), while the rest of the world reports their numbers based on total population.

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