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Australia shows the challenges faced in reopening borders

22 May 2020

By Tom Carnegie, Consultant

Australia is one of the lucky countries that has managed to get on top of COVID 19 early. As the nation continues to relax its restrictive measures, one major issue is the freedom of travel both domestically and internationally.

Newgate Australia has polled 1,224 Australians and found that the majority support a phased approach to border relaxation. Most (58%) think that interstate travel will be appropriate within the next three months and that the border with New Zealand should also be opened within 6 months (76% agree). However, only 25% want international travellers from other countries to be able to visit Australia within 6 months. 

Taking this phased approach will help reduce the chances of a second wave of COVID 19 breaking out in Australia. However, economically, it poses challenges given tourism makes up about 3% of the country’s GDP and employs about 5% of the workforce.

Newgate’s research further found that nearly half (43%) are now worse off financially as a result of COVID 19, with 11% saying their financial position has improved.

Elsewhere, the research found 80% of Australians are concerned about the economy and 72% are concerned about job opportunities and unemployment - both numbers slightly lower than last week. However, since last week there has been a significant increase in the proportion who have been laid off from their job, which has gone up from 15% to 20%.