Australia’s state border restrictions are easing. Here are the rules for travelling to Queensland, ACT, NSW and beyond

Queensland will allow 152,000 more people living along the state’s southern border to enter, as South Australia also moves to ease restrictions for New South Wales travellers.

SA’s Chief Public Health Officer Nicola Spurrier said zero community transmission in NSW for 14 days had prompted the decision to reopen.

Meanwhile, Queensland’s Chief Health Officer Jeannette Young said if there continued to be very low or no new cases in the state’s southern neighbour, restrictions could be further relaxed from Friday.

With everything changing once again, here’s the latest recap of who can and can’t travel freely throughout the country.

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The Queensland and NSW border zone will be extended to include the Byron, Ballina, Lismore, Richmond Valley and Glen Innes councils.

Can I travel to Queensland from ACT?

From September 25, you can if no new cases emerge in the ACT before then.

You won’t have to quarantine when you arrive in Queensland, as long as you haven’t been through a COVID-19 hotspot in the fortnight preceding your arrival.

As far as its advice goes, the ACT Government simply tells residents “to reconsider the need for any unnecessary travel to COVID-affected areas”.

That means all of Victoria and parts of Greater Sydney are best avoided for ACT residents.

What about travelling to the ACT?

For those travelling to the nation’s capital, there are directions to be followed if you have recently been in Victoria or some areas of Greater Sydney or Queensland.

If that’s you, then the ACT Government asks you to not visit or work in high-risk settings, like hospitals, aged care home, and correctional facilities for 14 days after arriving.

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Casey Briggs goes through the latest coronavirus figures, saying the recent trends are encouraging.

Can you travel to NSW from Queensland without quarantining?

From some parts of NSW, you can.

From October 1, people living in 41 more New South Wales postcodes will be able to apply for a border pass to travel into Queensland.

Residents in Byron Bay, Ballina, Lismore, Richmond Valley and Glen Innes local government areas are the most recent areas to be added to the zone, which extends as far south as Moree.

Queensland residents will also be able to travel to those areas.

The changes come after the state recorded zero new coronavirus cases overnight, leaving just 16 active cases.

In NSW, Tuesday was the first time in more than 70 days no new locally acquired cases were found.

When will travel restrictions lift completely between Queensland and NSW?

There’s been no official date but today, Dr Young said more restrictions could be relaxed from this Friday if the number of infections stayed low in NSW.

Can you travel from NSW to ACT to QLD?

You can, but you will have to quarantine once you arrive in Queensland.

Unless you’ve gone from a NSW border zone area to the ACT without going through any other part of NSW, which is probably only possible by aircraft.

ACT travellers will have to fill out a border declaration form, confirming they haven’t been in NSW or Victoria, to enter Queensland.

What about travelling from SA to NSW?

SA will reopen its borders to NSW at midnight on Wednesday, as long as there is no community transmission of coronavirus reported in NSW today.

As well as being able to enter SA, NSW residents will no longer have to quarantine for 14 days.

People in self-isolation after entering from NSW will have to finish their fortnight’s quarantine, unlike people entering from the ACT from last week.

If you’re travelling into SA, you’ll still be required to complete an online approval form.

If you’re in Victoria, you can only enter SA if you are an essential traveller or live within 40 kilometres of the SA border.

Where can Victorians travel to?

A sign saying no entry to nsw big fines next to a sign saying welcome to albury.
There are exceptions for people who live in places like Albury-Wodonga that straddle the state line.(ABC News: Greg Ryan)

Unfortunately, residents of Victoria are still not allowed to travel to other states and territories unless they meet one of three criteria — holding an exemption, being an essential worker or living along a state border.

Applications can be made to the respective states, but given Victoria’s designation as a hotspot, it could be tough.

Even then, those granted access to NSW under a border region resident permit cannot go further into the state than the border region.

“You’ll need to apply for a NSW resident’s permit to re-enter NSW (requiring a flight to Sydney Airport and quarantine),” the NSW Government says.

Travellers from other states can enter Victoria

Victoria’s Department of Health and Human Services website reads: “No permit or approval is required to enter Victoria from another state — however, you will need to adhere to the restrictions and directions that are in place to slow the spread of coronavirus in Victoria.”

Who can travel to Western Australia without quarantining?

No-one, other than exempt travellers.

Everyone else has to quarantine for 14 days before they’ll be allowed to move about in the state freely.

Exempt travellers include Commonwealth workers, truck drivers, emergency service workers, federal politicians and dependents.

Transport and freight workers will have to prove they have tested negative to COVID-19 in the five days prior to their arrival.

And if you’re planning to travel from Victoria or NSW to WA, you won’t be allowed in without written approval from the state emergency coordinator.

What about travelling to Tasmania?

There are some exemptions for seasonal and FIFO workers.

Otherwise, the Tasmanian Government will consider bringing forward the date for easing coronavirus border restrictions to the end of October.

Premier Peter Gutwein said if controls were relaxed, travellers from WA, SA, QLD the NT, ACT, and possibly NSW, may be able to visit, but that depends on advice from the state controller, which is expected over the coming weeks.

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SA coronavirus transition committee decides to reopen border to NSW if no mystery cases

South Australia will reopen its borders to New South Wales from late tomorrow night, as long as there is no community transmission of coronavirus recorded in NSW today.

From midnight on Thursday morning, NSW residents entering SA will no longer have to do 14 days’ quarantine — provided the NSW Government confirms on Wednesday that no-one acquired COVID-19 from an unknown source on Tuesday.

People currently in self-isolation after entering from NSW will still have to finish their fortnight’s quarantine, unlike people entering from the ACT from last week.

Anyone travelling into South Australia from any state other than Victoria is still required to complete an online approval form.

Apart from some exceptions, only essential travellers and Victorians living within 40 kilometres of the SA border can enter the state from Victoria.

SA Premier Steven Marshall said the “significant announcement” would relieve a “massive burden” on families and businesses.

“So that means people from NSW wanting to come into South Australia from Thursday onwards will be able to do that without doing the 14 days of self-isolation.

“This will be a massive, massive relief to people who have been isolated from friends, from family, from business opportunities.”

SA Premier Steven Marshall announces the relaxation of NSW border restrictions.(ABC News)

Yesterday, Mr Marshall said the case of a Sydney taxi driver who continued to work while infected was “slightly worrying”, but today he said the risk had been assessed as worth taking.

“We’re satisfied that’s a risk that can be managed,” he said.

Chief Public Health Officer Nicola Spurrier said the reason the NSW border could now be opened was that there had been no community transmission in that state in 14 days.

She said the last community transmission case, in which it was impossible to find a source of the infection, in NSW was on September 8.

‘Heartwarming’ decision praised

NSW this morning reported two new coronavirus cases, but neither of them was acquired locally — the first time in 106 days that was the case.

Dr Spurrier said the taxi driver was “not representative of community transmission” since NSW Health knew how he contracted coronavirus.

She encouraged people flying into Adelaide from NSW to wear face masks.

A woman with grey hair wearing a black top speaks to microphones
Chief Public Health Officer Nicola Spurrier said South Australians should keep getting tested for coronavirus.(ABC News)

More than 1,800 people entered SA from NSW between September 11 and 17, according to the latest SA Police statistics.

A reopened border will be welcome news for rugby league fans, with Adelaide Oval set to host the State of Origin series opener between NSW and Queensland in November.

Adelaide university student Mel Nguyen, who has been separated from her partner Zidan for two months, was delighted by the news the border would soon be reopening.

Adelaide university student Mel Nguyen and her partner Zidan.
Mel Nguyen and her partner Zidan have been separated during border restrictions.(Supplied)

“It’s been a tricky few months being apart, and it’s been a long time since I’ve seen him,” she said.

“All of his family are here and he doesn’t really know many people in Sydney, so I think he feels really lonesome at times.

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Coronavirus Australia live update: Victoria reports 28 new Covid cases and NSW two as Queensland relaxes border restrictions | World news

None of the policy announcements will deliver a single new job in the time frame Australia requires, which is now, in the middle of the deepest recession in almost a century, not off in the never-never. We have no plans to create jobs, no plans to bring down power bills, nothing from Scott Morrison except spin.

… The roadmap contains some unusual features. Nuclear power is in there, but bio energy is not. Energy efficiency is described as an emerging technology … The first thing we should be doing is to bring down power bills and emissions and create extraordinary numbers of jobs, that is what every other country is doing.

This plan has nothing about electric vehicles. We heard overnight the United Kingdom’s electric and hybrid vehicles, car sales, overtake diesel vehicles for the first time – a revolution sweeping the global car industry that this government has nothing to say about.

There are some things in this roadmap to be welcomed, there is no doubt about that. Glad they got onboard on hydrogen and some other things like that, where they were previously opposed. But there is still some major deficits, measure blindspots, by this government on technology. And again I will say: no energy policy. And without energy policy, you won’t see things change on the ground.

And without that, you won’t see new jobs created, and you won’t see power bills come down.

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Queensland border bubble to incorporate Byron, Ballina from October 1

From 1am on October 1, the following shires will be added to the border zone: Byron, Ballina, Lismore, Richmond Valley, and Glen Innes.

Residents will be able to travel to Queensland and Queenslanders can freely travel into those additional NSW areas but will still need to apply for a border pass.

Deputy Premier Steven Miles said there were 152,000 residents in the border zones who would now be able to travel into Queensland.

“These are people who might live in New South Wales but very often they feel a closer affinity to Queensland,” Mr Miles said.

“They live closer to Queensland than they do to Sydney.

“Many of us see these places like Byron and Ballina as local places and this means that we will be able to travel there.”

From this Friday, September 25, people will also be allowed to travel to and from the ACT via air.

The state government says it now considers there to have been nobody infectious in the Queensland community for the past 12 days.

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‘WORST CASE SCENARIO’: Fury at Qld border decision

THE building industry has been left gutted after Queensland announced it will reopen its border to Canberra on Friday.

As of Friday those from the ACT will be able to fly into the Sunshine State, while building and construction operators in South East Queensland and Northern NSW believe they have hit their “worst case scenario”.

President of the Master Builders Association Tweed division Peter Leotta said the industry had exhausted all avenues and had still no response or acknowledgment from the Queensland Government.

“The Northern Rivers has also not had any COVID cases for the same amount of time as the ACT yet our businesses and industry are not being acknowledged,” he said.

“For such a huge part of the state’s GDP and economy – it is simply unbelievable to comprehend the highest efforts of our industry bodies that there is no opportunity to discuss how to get our industry back to work.

“We have been ignored.”

>>>SEE MORE: JOBS ON THE LINE: ‘People can only hold on for so long’

>>>SEE MORE: NSW Premier bursts Ballina’s hopes of being inside bubble

Master Builders Australia NSW are yet to hear back from submissions for work arounds to the border bubbles restrictions to the Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk from August 14.

“Those worst case scenarios and worst case statistics are starting to be felt and we are starting to see that evidence come through,” Mr Leotta said.

“Every business is impacted directly or indirectly … we are watching the implications unfold now.

“It has affected consumers, tradies, mum and dads homeowners and building companies.”

Mr Leotta, GJ Gardner Homes Tweed Heads managing director, said it was “unbelievable” what was achieved for the agricultural industry within 48 hours to have a specialty border pass could not done for building and construction.

“Agriculture is one 30th of the size of building and constructions contribution to the percentage of the state’s GDP,” he said.

“It is unacceptable to believe this cannot also be undertaken for our industry given the size and the sheer contribution we give on a state and national perspective.

“We feel we have a two week window. In two weeks the Queensland government are in caretaker and I believe then nothing will change it will just be maintaining status quo.

“We have an industry on its last legs, ripped apart and devastated.”

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China flies fighters, bombers to Taiwan border after US official visit

Fighters. Bombers. Flying missiles. China has sent more than 20 aircraft to breach its borders with Taiwan in recent days. Now Taiwan’s President warns of a “clear and present danger” to the whole region.

Late last week a US official visited Taiwan to attend the funeral of a past president and hold talks with its democratically elected administration.

Beijing responded by sending combat jets across the ‘median line’ – the halfway point between the island of Taiwan and mainland China.

Meanwhile, both of China’s aircraft carriers were also at sea taking part in an extensive series of live-fire exercises to the north and south of Taiwan.

“Every time a high-ranking US official visits Taiwan, the fighter jets of the PLA should be one step closer to the island,” warns an editorial in the Chinese Communist Party newspaper Global Times.

“The US and Taiwan must not misjudge the situation, or believe the exercise is a bluff. Should they continue to make provocations, war will inevitably break out.”

Another Global Times editorial declared the drills were “realistically combat-oriented and a rehearsal for a Taiwan takeover”.

RELATED: Standoff after China accused of bold move


“Twelve J-16 fighters, two J-10 fighters, two J-11 fighters, two H-6 bombers and one Y-8 ASW crossed the midline of the Taiwan Strait and entered Taiwan’s southwest ADIZ (identification zone),” Taiwan’s defence ministry tweeted Saturday.

In response, Taiwan “scrambled fighters and deployed air defence missile systems to monitor the activities”

RELATED: What China could do with all your data

This was just the second day of a series of repeated violations by China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA).

And there are disturbing indications this is just the start of further escalations.

Yesterday, the PLA declared on Chinese media that “there is no such thing as Taiwan Strait median line within PR China’s territory.”

This unravels seven decades of unsteady truce between the two nations.

Chinese state propaganda has been broadcasting the event, with its social media Wolf Warriors on message. One Twitter account, Eva Zheng (who declares herself to be an independent Chinese citizen, even though some Chinese citizens have been arrested for merely posting to Twitter) uploaded a government graphic detailing the incursions.

Others, such as the Chinese ambassador to ASEAN, declared: “Taiwan is an inseparable part of China and we won’t allow any foreign power to interfere with China’s internal affairs. Those who play with fire will get burned!”

RELATED: War warning: Next 10 months are critical

PLA Air Force Senior Colonel Zhang Chunhui said in a statement that the military manoeuvres were “necessary” to counter Taiwanese “separatist” acts. “Such actions are necessary measures to deal with the current situation in the Taiwan Strait, and will help improve the ability of theater troops to defend national unity and territorial sovereignty.”

Meanwhile, Taipei is attempting to capitalise upon Beijing belligerence by warning South East Asian nations that China has revealed its true nature.

“I believe these activities are no help to China’s international image, and what’s more have put Taiwan’s people even more on their guard, understanding even better the true nature of the Chinese Communist regime,” President Tsai Ing-wen said on Sunday.

“Additionally, other countries in the region also have a better understanding of the threat posed by China”.


US undersecretary for state Keith Krach was visiting Taiwan to mark the passing of former President Lee Ten-hui. It was he who led the island of 20 million people into democracy. The dictatorial Republic of China (ROC) administration had fled to the protectorate – placed under Chinese administration after World War II – after the Communist Party seized control of the mainland in 1949.

Both events were particularly irritating to Beijing’s Chairman-for-life Xi Jinping, who has recently been pushing a hard “reunification” line – even though Taiwan never surrendered to the Communist revolution. This was a point emphasised by Lee, who strove to establish Taiwan as its own independent identity on the world stage.

Serving President Tsai lauded Lee for succeeding in a peaceful transition from autocracy to democracy.

“We have a responsibility to continue his endeavours, allowing the will of the people to reshape Taiwan, further defining Taiwan’s identity and deepening and bolstering democracy and freedom,” Tsai said during the ceremony.

The US undersecretary is the second high-level official to visit Taipei in recent months. He dined with the President, while also meeting with the economic affairs minister and holding trade talks with business leaders.

“This kind of behaviour interferes with China’s internal affairs, hurts the feelings of the Chinese people and violates the norms of international relations,” China’s State Council spokesman Ma Xiaoguang said yesterday.

But the US adopted a different point of view.

“We have maintained constructive, unofficial relations with Taiwan for 40 years,” a Pentagon spokesman said in response to the air incursions. “The PLA’s aggressive and destabilising reactions reflect a continued attempt to alter the status quo and rewrite history.”

“This is another example of the PRC increasingly using its military as a tool of coercion with Taiwan and other neighbours. Taiwan’s security — and its people’s ability to determine their future, free from coercion — remains a vital interest to the United States and is integral to regional security.”

Jamie Seidel is a freelance writer | @JamieSeidel

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SA could reopen border with NSW within days despite ‘worrying’ coronavirus case

South Australia’s Premier says there are “good signs” the state’s border with New South Wales could reopen this week, despite a “slightly worrying” coronavirus case in Sydney over the weekend.

The South Australian Government’s coronavirus transition committee is meeting tomorrow and Premier Steven Marshall said it will consider allowing NSW residents to come across the border without having to quarantine for 14 days.

Mr Marshall is not a member of the committee, but has previously said the border could reopen as early as Tuesday night, or after the next committee meeting on Friday.

“We’re hoping that we can get the border open with NSW this week,” Mr Marshall told ABC Radio Adelaide this morning.

“If there are a large number in hotel quarantine, well that’s not so much of an issue, or if they’re linked to a known case, again that’s not community transmission.

“Again, we just need to look at the cases that have occurred and [been] reported on Friday, Saturday and yesterday.”

Premier Steven Marshall says relaxing border restrictions would be good for businesses and families.(ABC News)

Mr Marshall said a “slightly worrying case” was detected over the weekend — a taxi driver who tested positive for coronavirus after working eight days while infectious and visiting several venues in Sydney and on the South Coast.

“But [SA’s Chief Public Health Officer] Nicola Spurrier and the transition committee will look at that very closely,” Mr Marshall said.

NSW reported four new positive coronavirus cases this morning, but none of them were through community transmission.

Mr Marshall said if a decision was made, the border relaxation would most likely be implemented the same night.

ACT residents were allowed to fly into SA from last Tuesday night after a transition committee meeting that day.

“We know this has been hugely inconvenient — massively inconvenient — especially for businesses but also for family reunions,” the Premier said.

“You see families completely dislocated — parents not being able to see their children or grandparents not being able to see grandchildren — so there’s a lot of reasons we want this to happen but we can’t do it until it’s safe to do so, but there’s certainly some very good signs this week at this stage.”

More than 1,800 people entered SA from NSW between September 11 and 17, according to the latest SA Police statistics.

If borders opened to NSW, South Australia would then only have stricter border controls with Victoria.

Mr Marshall said those would not be removed any time soon.

A reopened border would be welcome news for rugby league fans, with Adelaide Oval set to host the State of Origin series opener between NSW and Queensland in November.

Marathon a runaway success

The first large-scale running event to be held in Australia since the coronavirus pandemic began was held in Adelaide yesterday, attracting more that 1,500 participants, including two-time Olympian Jess Trengove.

A woman running along a river boardwalk
Jess Trengove running along the River Torrens in the Adelaide Marathon.(Facebook: Jess Trengove)

She won the women’s half marathon in her first major race since having a baby in November.

For the event to be conducted in a COVID-safe way, runners received individual start-times, and were released from the blocks in 10-second intervals to ensure social distancing.


Volunteers wore gloves at drink stations, and touchpoints like railings and portable toilets were regularly wiped down with antibacterial spray.

“Clearly we’re not back to how we used to run a marathon, but we’re adapting, and to be able to run this kind of event safety, that’s the key thing,” race director Greg Marsh said.

Professor Spurrier even lent volunteers a hand — by wiping down toilet doors.

“I’ve come down just to make sure the COVID-safe management plan was being kept to,” she said.

“We noticed that the volunteers just needed some extra help here this morning, so my team’s helping out — that’s real public health!”

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Victoria-SA border clubs welcome relaxing of travel restrictions for organised sport

While regional Victoria finds relief over the easing of restrictions, the smaller towns along the state’s western border have something extra to celebrate — they can now return to organised sport with their South Australian team mates.

South Australia Police confirmed on Facebook Tuesday night that Cross-Border Community Permit holders can now cross for the purpose of organised sport, which previously was not considered a reason for travelling.

They said that those heading across must have had a COVID-19 test within the past seven days, and those entering from Victoria cannot travel further than 40 kilometres over the border into South Australia.

Breaking down barriers

Member for McKillop Nick McBride says that the news was welcomed by sportspeople on both sides of the border.

Victorian teams that play in SA, like the Apsley Cricket Club, would now be able to compete.(ABC News)

“[This] is a good move in the right direction. I’m sure it will help and will ease some of the tension that this cross border community has had to wear,” Mr McBride said.

“I’m hoping that these borders get easier and easier for all the right reasons, rather than get the hard closures that the cross-border communities had to engage so far.”

He said that it is a hopeful sign of things to come.

“We know that the mental health and strain on the cross-border communities has been immense,” he said.

“I think that there’s a pain that’s been so huge, and [the way] the closure of the border went and how it came to be.

Preparing for summer

With winter seasons cancelled, eyes are now turning to summer sports.

Up until now there were doubts about whether Victorian teams that play in South Australia, like the Apsley Cricket Club which plays in the Naracoorte and District Association, would be able to compete.

Secretary and treasurer of the club Kaddie Cother said that while they were hopeful the change would allow them to compete, there were issues about where their home ground might be.

“At the moment we’re still trying to work out how we’re going to make that work for us because all the other teams are based in South Australia,” Ms Cother said.

“It would mean that, for a start, I guess until the borders open properly it would just mean that we would have to play all of our games over in South Australia and have no home games ourselves.”

Cricket ball on a bat
Regional cricket clubs can now return to organised sport with their South Australian team mates.(ABC News)

Ms Cother said they were not sure if all of their players would be able to cross.

“At this stage we may have players that don’t have essential traveller numbers to get over the border as it is. And we do have some that are based closer to Goroke and that are out of that 40 kilometre zone as well,” she said.

But she hopes that the news gives the town a boost.

“It’s a step in the right direction, letting people over to play sport,” Ms Cother said.

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