explainer

A complete breakdown of the current border rules for each state.

Victorians in New South Wales surged south on Friday in a bid to avoid a new hard border closure that came into effect at midnight.

Most travellers from NSW, including Victorian residents, will now be turned back, while the select few permitted to cross under exceptional circumstances will be placed into mandatory 14-day hotel quarantine.

The border shutdown comes as both states work to contain clusters of COVID-19 infections that have sprung up in recent weeks.

On Saturday, Victorian authorities reported 10 new locally acquired infections, all of which have been connected to a restaurant in Black Rock, Melbourne. Genomic sequencing has linked the cluster to that on the Northern Beaches of Sydney.

Meanwhile, NSW Health reported seven new cases, five of which have been linked to the more-recent cluster that has sprung up in Sydney's western suburbs.

The outbreaks and subsequent life-saving restrictions have scuppered travel plans for countless Australians this holiday period.

Here's where border rules stand for each state if you were to travel today.

TRAVELLING TO QUEENSLAND.

Anyone travelling to Queensland who has been in NSW at any time since 1am Friday 11 December must complete a Queensland Border Declaration Pass before they enter the state.

Queensland is closed to anyone who has been in a COVID-19 hotspot in the last 14 days or since the hotspot was declared (whichever is shorter). Hotspot areas include Greater Sydney, NSW Central Coast and Wollongong (see here for a full list of included areas).

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Exceptions can be made for a limited range of people who can enter for essential purposes, but they must travel by air and follow strict testing and quarantine requirements. For those travelling today, that would mean anyone who has been to a hotspot area must enter mandatory, 14-day hotel quarantine at their own expense. That includes Queensland residents.

TRAVELLING TO NEW SOUTH WALES.

All NSW borders remain open, and no permits are required to cross into the state.

Although all states have strongly advised their residents against travel to Greater Sydney.

TRAVELLING TO THE ACT.

Any non-ACT residents who have been to a COVID-affected area — including Greater Sydney, NSW Central Coast and Wollongong — must not enter the ACT. (Certain exemptions may be granted under extraordinary circumstances, but quarantine periods may apply.)

For ACT residents, a 14-day quarantine will apply to:

  • those who've been to Sydney's Northern Beaches region on or after December 11, 2020.
  • those who've been to Greater Sydney, NSW Central Coast or Wollongong on or after December 21, 2020.

If you have been in a COVID-affected area, you can transit through the ACT to another destination, if the most direct route is through the ACT. While you are transiting through the ACT, you must not exit the vehicle nor go through a drive-through.

TRAVELLING TO VICTORIA.

The NSW-Victoria border is closed to all but those who reside in existing 'border bubble' communities.

This means no travellers from NSW are permitted to enter Victoria, and that includes returning Victorian residents. Exemptions apply for extraordinary circumstances and may include mandatory hotel quarantine.

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TRAVELLING TO TASMANIA.

Tasmania's border rules depend on whether the inbound traveller — which includes Tasmanian residents — has come from a low-, medium- or high-risk area.

High-risk areas include Sydney's Northern Beaches region. Anyone who's spent time there in the 14 days before travelling to Tasmania will be refused entry. Exemptions apply for essential travellers.

Travellers who have spent time in a medium-risk area (including Greater Sydney and Wollongong), in the 14 days before arriving in Tasmania are required to quarantine either in suitable premises or in government-designated accommodation (fees apply). They must obtain a G2G PASS before travel.

All other areas are deemed low risk, but travellers must register through the e-Travel system before entering the state.

TRAVELLING TO SOUTH AUSTRALIA.

All travellers entering South Australia are required to complete a Cross-Border Travel Registration.

Although, anyone who has been in NSW in the preceding 14 days will be prohibited from entering. 

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Exemptions apply for South Australia residents, border-zone residents, essential travellers, people escaping domestic violence, and those who have transited through NSW (they must not stop in Greater Sydney, and must only stop in other regions for essential purposes including fuel and rest).

Returning South Australia residents and people escaping domestic violence who've been to NSW will be directed to quarantine for 14 days.

TRAVELLING TO WESTERN AUSTRALIA.

Anyone entering Western Australia must complete a mandatory G2G PASS registration and declaration prior to travel.

Victoria and NSW have been deemed 'medium risk' locations, meaning people who have been there in the preceding 14 days are not permitted to enter WA without obtaining an exemption through G2G PASS. 

If granted an exemption, travellers are required to self-quarantine at suitable premises or government-approved hotel facility for 14 days at their own expense.

TRAVELLING TO NORTHERN TERRITORY.

All travellers to the Northern Territory must complete a Border Entry Form prior to travel.

Those who have been to a declared hotspot in the 14 days before they arrive will be required to undertake 14 days' supervised quarantine at a dedicated facility. This will be at their own expense.

Hotspot areas include parts of Greater Sydney. For a full list, see here.

For more of the latest information about travel restrictions, including details on exemptions, visit the Australian Government Department of Health website. There you'll find links to the advice and rules for your state.

Feature Image: Getty.