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‘We need planes in the air’: Push for internal borders to come down

Published: (Updated: ) in Australian News by .

But the major roadblock to getting the economy back on track was the reopening of internal borders, says the deputy prime minister.

Pressure is mounting on Daniel Andrews to lift restrictions in Victoria faster as calls grow for internal borders to come down.

Scott Morrison has criticised Victoria's premier for taking too long to open the state up and wants to see domestic travel back on before Christmas.

Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack said the move was vital for the country's economic recovery.


Qantas planes at Sydney airport,

"We need these border restrictions to be eased quicker," Mr McCormack told Today.

"We need to get planes back in the air. Planes in the air means jobs on the ground.

"Continuing to have tight border closures is hurting, particularly regional areas, they are under very similar restrictions in some cases, to those in the city areas, and they haven't had a coronavirus case for many months, if at all.

"I appreciate that many of those restrictions in regional Victoria have eased, but we are talking about one city here.

"It's affecting most of the state, it's affecting international travel, its affecting interstate travel."

Brisbane Airport file

The federal government is extending its Domestic Aviation Network Support program which was due to end on Wednesday.

The Morrison government has already paid $150 million to the airlines under the scheme.

It means Qantas, Virgin Australia and Regional Express will be able to claim back any losses they incur on domestic flights until the end of January and on regional flights until the end of March.

"We are putting more money, millions upon millions of dollars in making sure that we get planes back in the air," Mr McCormack said.

"If we still have tight border restrictions it makes it so much more different."

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The extension is designed to encourage airlines to maintain routes which would otherwise be unviable due to low passenger numbers and would be a welcome boost for regional towns struggling with tourism.

But the reopening of borders was dependent on state and territory leaders.

"They need to know that people need to get back to their loved ones," Mr McCormack said.

"They need to know that the aviation sector needs those jobs. Regional tourism, indeed tourism right across the nation.

"We've got 45,600 jobs in regional Australia identified by the regional Australia Institute just last week.

"There are jobs out here. We need to get people into these areas."

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Source: 9News

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