Melburnians are set to be able to travel to South Australia starting next week without the need for quarantine after the city hits an 80% vaccination milestone for people aged 12 and over.
Victorian Health Minister Martin Foley shared the news during Question Time today, following questioning of Green MP Ellen Sandell.
The SA is set to open up to the rest of the country next Tuesday, November 23, but will still require visitors to local government areas with a double-dose vaccination rate below 80% to be quarantined upon arrival.
Victoria and NSW have already taken this step and are moving closer to 90% dual vaccination coverage for residents aged 12 and older.
However, the SA border rules reflect demographics for 2019, before tens of thousands of students and international migrants left key local government areas of downtown Sydney and Melbourne to return home.
This means that the suburbs of the two state capitals are reporting far lower vaccination rates than neighboring regions due to their declining populations, even though estimates suggest they have already hit the 80% mark.
On Monday, MPs from Australia’s two largest states wrote to the federal government, fearing outdated data is preventing families from visiting sick relatives in South Africa.
Ms Sandell, MP for Melbourne, and NSW politician Jenny Leong said their constituents have been separated from loved ones and missed key life and work events due to the failure.
“It is problematic to prevent interstate travel on the basis of outdated population forecasts which appear to skew the actual vaccination rates of these regions,” the letter read.
Authorities in South Australia are investigating the anomaly and have asked the governments of New South Wales and Victoria to submit their data on vaccination and population rates.
â€œI was able to get some really useful information from my colleagues in Melbourne, and I plan to do the same with Sydney,â€ said Nicola Spurrier, SA’s public health manager earlier this week.
“We will look at what the Commonwealth Government data shows, but if there are any discrepancies like these, inconsistencies, we will obviously look for more information.”