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Tasman travel switch from stick to carrot

The federal government is attempting to flip the script on the surprise incursion of Kiwi travellers into unsuspecting states.

The Commonwealth has copped days of criticism over its Trans-Tasman travel bubble.

The bubble was originally only supposed to include New Zealand, NSW and the Northern Territory.

But Kiwis have hopped on domestic flights to all corners of the country after touching down in Sydney.

New Zealanders have been funnelled straight into hotel quarantine after arriving in states with hard borders.

Several state premiers have railed against the Morrison government for blindsiding them.

But the federal tourism minister said the spat only served to expose the inflexibility of quarantine rules.

Simon Birmingham called on South Australia in particular to reconsider its coronavirus restrictions.

“I think that is a very, very strong ground for South Australia to think about joining NSW and the Northern Territory in allowing New Zealanders free entry to SA,” he told ABC radio on Tuesday.

“And I hope that we will see, pretty soon, New Zealand to reciprocate for states like South Australia that have done just as well as New Zealand, in terms of managing COVID.”

South Australian authorities were quick to heed his calls.

The state, which reported no cases on Tuesday, has decided to open its borders to travellers from New Zealand and allow 12 recent arrivals already in hotel quarantine into the community.

Police Commissioner Grant Stevens said after discussions with New Zealand health officials, local authorities were comfortable about the risk posed by those coming into the state.

Mr Stevens insisted there had been no political pressure to change the state’s stance.

Queensland took a different approach, forcing two New Zealand travellers into quarantine after they arrived in the state from Sydney.

Deputy Premier Steven Miles said there had been no further consideration about the Sunshine State joining the travel bubble with New Zealand.

Queensland again recorded no new coronavirus cases on Tuesday, with health officials completing 4080 coronavirus tests in the past 24 hours.

NSW reported two new locally transmitted cases and three more infections among returned travellers in hotel quarantine.

Victoria recorded just one new case of coronavirus and no additional deaths.

Melbourne’s rolling 14-day average of cases and the number of infections with unknown sources continue to decline.

The Morrison government continues to pile pressure on Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews to lift business restrictions more quickly.

Senior cabinet minister Michaelia Cash even dubbed him “Distraction Dan” for speaking out about Kiwi arrivals.

Federal Labor frontbencher Bill Shorten said Victorians were sick of the sniping from Canberra.

He urged Treasurer Josh Frydenberg and others to stick to their day jobs.

“I can’t help but think though, wouldn’t it be good if Josh knew someone who knew the treasurer of Australia? I mean, there’s things that the federal government could do,” Mr Shorten told the Nine Network.

“How about childcare? How about having JobKeeper for early childhood educators? And the sole traders and a lot of business structures are not getting support from the feds.”

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