The National Security Committee of Cabinet has today decided to raise the advice for all overseas travel to the highest level. Its advice to all Australians – regardless of destination, age or health – is ‘do not travel overseas at this time’. This the highest travel advice setting – Level 4 of 4 and has never before been activated. In addition, Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) has advised Australians who are overseas and who wish to return to Australia, to do so as soon as possible by commercial means as these may soon become limited. A number of commercial carriers have shut down or reduced their international flight schedules, including Qantas and Virgin Australia. Anyone arriving in Australia from overseas, including Australian citizens and permanent residents, will be required to self-isolate for 14 days from the date of arrival.
Aviation Industry Support
The Commonwealth Government has also announced an aviation package for the refunding and ongoing waiving of a range of Government charges, including aviation fuel excise, air services charges on domestic airline operations and domestic and regional aviation security charges. These measures are in response to the unprecedented and likely sustained period of falling international and domestic aviation demand related to the impact of the coronavirus. The total cost of the measures is estimated to be $715 million, with an upfront estimated benefit of $159 million to our airlines for reimbursement of applicable charges paid by domestic airlines since 1 February 2020.
Domestic Air Travel
National Cabinet agreed that all Australians should only consider travelling when it is essential. If unwell, people must stay at home, unless seeking medical care. National Cabinet agreed that public transport is essential and that AHPPC advice should apply in relation to public transport (trains, trams, buses, ferries), taxi and ride share vehicles and transport of vulnerable populations, with particular attention given to cleaning and hygiene.