Northern Territory rejects July 1 border opening demand
A DEMAND by a southern state tourism minister for all states and territories to reopen their borders from July 1 has been shot down in the NT.
Health Minister Natasha Fyles smacked down NSW Tourism Minister Stuart Ayres' suggestion that he could see "no reason why other states" would not road map to July 1 to lift border restrictions so the economic revival of domestic tourism could begin.
"We won't be listening to the NSW tourism minister, we'll be listening to our health experts who sit at the table of the AHPPC … and we'll be making decisions that save the life of Territorians," she said.
Chamber of Commerce NT chief executive Greg Ireland said he would still vote for borders to be opened sooner rather than later, agreeing a July 1 date was a "realistic target".
Mr Ireland said he remained mindful of the health impact and said there could be balance between the cautious approach from health officials and the need to revive the economy.
"If it can done sooner, I would vote for it to be done sooner," he said.
While the NT Government shows no signs of budging on external borders, internal biosecurity restriction are likely to lift a fortnight earlier than expected.
Indigenous Minister Ken Wyatt on Thursday spoke to the Northern Land Council about dissolving the nine biosecurity zones in the NT erected to prevent travel around vulnerable communities.
Mr Wyatt was confident a decision would be made as early as Thursday but that power lies with Health Minister Greg Hunt, who is yet to make an announcement on the matter.
It comes as new government data revealed international arrivals and departures from the NT tumbled from a high of more than 18,000 in December and January to just 250 when strict border control measures were implemented in April.
Originally published as Fyles smacks down NSW Tourism Minister 'July 1' border demand