Prime Minister Scott Morrison has hailed the opening up of the Australia-New Zealand travel bubble as a “win-win” for both countries.
From Sunday night, travellers from Australia were once again able to cross the Tasman quarantine-free after more than a year of tight restrictions.
“Today’s milestone is a win-win for Australians and New Zealanders, boosting our economies while keeping our people safe and just in time for Anzac Day,” Mr Morrison said on Sunday.
“Both countries have done a remarkable job in protecting our communities from COVID and two-way flights are an important step in our road out.”
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern was equally delighted at the re-opening of borders.
“It is truly exciting to start quarantine-free travel with Australia,” Ms Ardern said.
“Be it returning family, friends or holiday makers, New Zealand says welcome and enjoy yourself.
“The bubble marks a significant step in both countries’ reconnection with the world and it’s one we should all take a moment to be very proud of.”
All people residing in Australia or New Zealand, including foreign nationals, can use quarantine-free travel, as long as they meet the health, immigration and other standard border clearance requirements in each country.
The easing of the border restriction reciprocates the arrangement already in place for Kiwi arrivals, who have been able to visit Australia without undertaking quarantine for about the last six months.
While the Australia-New Zealand bubble was ‘first cab off the rank’, it is hoped there may soon be more to follow.
In a joint statement, Ms Ardern and Mr Morrison said the Pacific nations could be next.
“Australia and New Zealand are also exploring opportunities to extend quarantine-free travel to other countries in the Pacific, when it is safe to do so, reflecting our close ties to the Pacific and our commitment to supporting their recovery,” the statement read.