The NT’s borders could open by mid-July, according to Chief Minister Michael Gunner, who made his strongest indication yet about when the border closures could be lifted.
Mr Gunner said on Mix 104.9 Monday morning that he will be considering health advice, including updates on whether mass gathering protests down south have had any health impacts, at the end of this week before making a decision.
He would be following South Australia, that has indicated its borders will re-open on July 20, with Queensland opening its borders on July 10.
“We’d end up on the same timeframe (as SA) if we make that decision at the end of the week, and at the moment, it is looking good,” he said.
“At the end of this week will be the first time I make a decision … and I’ll give 30-days notice. I haven’t said what the date will be in July, but it would be in or around that date.”
The statement follows intense pressure on Mr Gunner to open the borders from the Federal Government, as well as many NT business, hospitality and tourism operators.
“I’m making the decision on medical grounds,” Mr Gunner said when asked about the pressure. “I want everyone to understand I’m doing this with the knowledge and confidence that Territorians will be safe.
“I get (that businesses are) dependent on visitors – I want you to open, I want people who come to the Territory to know it’s safe….”
Territory Alliance leader Terry Mills said Mr Gunner was still playing politics over the border closures and could open them much sooner than July 20, if he had a clear plan.
“The pressures of the real world are colliding with political strategy,” he said.
“This isn’t about Labor’s electoral survival, it is about the survival of thousands of Territorians who face an uncertain economic future.
“A clear and confident plan must be communicated now, protocols then put in place now, so that people can plan with some certainty. This could be done before next month.”
As of today, visitors and residents returning to the NT are no longer required to isolate in government-selected hotels at a $2500 cost. They can now nominate their own place of quarantine.