Open borders, home quarantine for fully-vaccinated needed: Ai Group

National employer association Ai Group is calling for the state and federal governments to implement relaxed travel restrictions for fully-vaccinated people to kick-start the post-COVID recovery in Australia.

Ai Group CEO Innes Willox said the country has now reached the point where governments need to seriously look at more rapidly opening the borders and removing barriers to business travellers and returning Australians.

“Employers across the country have put investments on hold for too long. They are losing business opportunities to their overseas competitors whose economies and countries are open for business while Australia is locked tight as a drum,” Willox said.

“While travel exemptions for business travel can be obtained successfully if strict criteria are met, the barriers to doing business in other countries remain prohibitive for many. These include the risk of being bounced off return flights when inbound quotas are reached and the costs, stress and indeed risks of hotel quarantine on return.”

Similarly, Willox said businesses looking to bring in experts to advise on technical issues, or to repair specialist equipment and potential customers and investors are being put off for the same reasons.

“These barriers are removing opportunities, delaying investments, and stifling the ability of businesses to grow and add to domestic employment. Businesses in other countries are not facing these barriers and we are putting ourselves at a disadvantage,” he said.

“We believe the national cabinet should agree to immediately accelerate plans to open our international border and to:

  • Allow fully vaccinated business travellers the automatic right to depart and return to Australia.
  • Allow fully vaccinated Australian business travellers and business visa holders and returning Australians who pass a COVID-19 rapid test on arrival and at regular intervals after arrival to home quarantine in all states and territories as is being trialled in South Australia.
  • Remove the travel arrival quota for fully vaccinated business travellers and business visa holders and returning Australians.

“Fully vaccinated people are known to be far less likely to spread COVID-19 and, particularly if backed up with rapid testing, it makes sense to take advantage of the opportunities of home quarantining to loosen the shackles of business isolation and to bring back Australians who are queuing to come home.”

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