Media release – Peter Gutwein, Premier, 22 October 2021

Tasmanian borders to reopen on December 15

Under our Reconnecting Tasmania, safe border reopening plan, Tasmania’s borders will reopen to all mainland jurisdictions on December 15, 2021.

By this date, I am confident that everyone above the age of 12 will have had the opportunity to be vaccinated and that we will have achieved a 90 per cent vaccination rate for 12 year olds and above.

We will not turn back from this date and so my message to every eligible Tasmanian over the age of 12 is if you’re not vaccinated, don’t wait until December 14 – make an appointment today and get it done as soon as you can.

We have already achieved our 70 per cent fully vaccinated target for 16 years and over, and we expect to achieve our 80 per cent target early November, at which point we will implement a risk-based home quarantine system for most returning Tasmanians and travellers who have suitable premises subject to public health advice, provided they are fully vaccinated if over 16, and have a negative test 72 hours prior to travel.

From the 15th of December, anyone will be able to enter Tasmania from anywhere within Australia, subject to being fully vaccinated (12 years and over), and having a negative test result within 72 hours of travel.

Returning Tasmanians who undertake a short trip of less than 7 days will not need to have the test within 72 hours of travel and subject to being fully vaccinated will be able to return without quarantine.

Importantly, based on Tasmanian specific modelling undertaken by Professor Raina MacIntyre from the Kirby Institute, and based on our strong vaccination rates, we are confident that our state can open while ensuring we have the health and safety nets in place to keep on top of COVID, especially during the reopening phases.

To be clear, the modelling does take into account the retention of some important hygiene measures and COVID safeguards, particularly across the first few months, including gathering restrictions, density limits, and mask wearing in high risk indoor settings.

As we draw closer to December 15, we will continue to take public health advice on what the most appropriate settings for Tasmania will be as our borders reopen.

Importantly, over the past 12 months our hospital system has been building capacity, with more than 655 additional FTEs working in our health system today than there was 12 months ago, and more dedicated beds for surge capacity.

And as our borders reopen, our vaccination program will continue so Tasmanians can keep lifting the high vaccination rates to make sure our communities are safe.

We will continue to manage and monitor the situation closely, and take public health advice to ensure we can reopen with confidence, and Tasmanians can once again reconnect with friends and loved ones.

Our Reconnecting Tasmania plan and the Tasmanian specific modelling can be found here:

Anita Dow MP, Shadow Health Minister, 23 October 2021

Plan provides certainty, but questions remain

Yesterday’s announcement of a firm plan for the reopening of Tasmania’s borders provides welcome certainty to those impacted by border closures including Tasmanians separated from loved ones and our hospitality and tourism industries.

Shadow Health Minister Anita Dow said yesterday’s announcement will raise many questions for Tasmanians as we look to reopen and live with COVID in our community.

“It’s clear a large amount of work has gone into the state’s reopening plan, including additional health system capacity,” Ms Dow said.

“However, the question is, will these measures be enough to ensure our health system can cope with a COVID outbreak? Our health system is already at breaking point.

“This government has been in power for almost eight years, if they have had that long to fix the health system and failed, how can Tasmanians feel confident our health system can be ready for an outbreak in a matter of weeks?

“Quarantine, both at home and in hotels is another issue that remains critical, with an increased importance placed on it early in the reopening plan.

“The community need confidence that previous problems with our quarantine system have been addressed following recent breaches.

“It’s also crucial that the government do everything possible to help people across the state get access to a vaccine.

“The government has now set an opening date and they must pull out all the stops to ensure every Tasmanian can get the jab before December 15.

“Tasmanians have worked incredibly hard to get to the point we are at now and yesterday’s announcement was welcome.

“However, it is clear the government has plenty of work to do to make sure our state is prepared for our reopening, more Tasmanians can get a vaccine and our health system can cope with an inevitable COVID outbreak.”