International students may be able to enter Australia by July subject to strict procedures, but this might not be the case with Western Australia which has refused to set a date for the reopening of its interstate borders.
According to ABC News, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said in an address on Friday that Australians will be able to travel anywhere throughout the country except for Western Australia.
“I think the only state or territory likely to fall out of that is still possibly Western Australia, but there is a commitment from the Premier to continue to look at this issue,” he was quoted saying.
“The Premier in Western Australia will make the argument that containing the borders of Western Australia has enabled them to move [faster]. They’re effectively on step three now, with the exception of that one item [the border closure].”
The Australian Government has a three-step framework in place for a COVID-19-safe Australia.
Step one will allow groups of people gather in homes and in the community. Businesses reopen, and more people return to work.
Step two is similar, and will allow slightly larger gatherings and more businesses reopening. Step three sees a “commitment to reopening of business and the community with minimal restrictions, but underpinned by COVIDSafe ways of living. States and territories will determine when to implement these changes”.
Western Australia’s hard border remains
A spokesman for the Western Australia government said the state borders would stay shut as long as there was sustained community spread of the virus interstate, adding that their “hard border is in place based on the expert health advice for Western Australia”.
He added that the borders will remain in place to protect West Australians, and confirmed there was no fixed date for opening the Western Australia border.
Morrison had previously made it clear to the states and territories that “if someone can’t come to your state from Sydney, then someone can’t come to your state from Singapore. If you want to open up borders for international students, then you have to open up borders for Australians.”
What Western Australia’s closure means for international students
— Study International (@Study_INTNL) June 8, 2020
While Western Australia has yet to set a reopening date, other states or territories have provided dates on when they might be reopening.
This means international students will want to explore their options of studying in other parts of Australia, including in cities such as Brisbane, Melbourne, Sydney and Adelaide in the country’s northern and southern territories.
South Australian is scheduled to lift state borders by July 20 while Queensland has targeted for July 10.
The state of Victoria and Tasmania have yet to confirm when they would be reopening, but the latter will likely reopen its border to mainland Australia in late July, reported The New Daily.
Premier of Tasmania Peter Gutwein announced that he is hopeful of making a call on whether to lift border restrictions on June 26, when the next stage of state restrictions are eased.