Border blockade may leave Qld locked out of NZ travel bubble
Queensland has already missed out on 30 flights of Kiwis coming into the country, due to its closed borders locking it out of the one way travel bubble.
Federal Government officials say two-way travel with New Zealand is now "very close", but it will be up to states to opt in.
It follows talks between Prime Minister Scott Morrison and his recently re-elected New Zealand counterpart Jacinda Ardern earlier this week where they discussed trans-Tasman travel arrangements.
The one-way travel bubble is already being eye off as a way to test reopening international borders to COVID-safe countries, like New Zealand.
The quarantine-free flights from New Zealand are being dubbed "green flights", while those coming from countries which require 14-day quarantine on arrival are "red flights".
There have already been 20 "green flights" come in from across the Tasman carrying more than 1800 passengers, while another 10 flights are expected by November 10.
They are only going to NSW and the Northern Territory at the moment due to their open state border policies, while QLD is missing out.
The Land of the Long White Cloud is Queensland's second biggest international tourism market, with 500,000 Kiwis spending about $600 million here last year.
Senate estimates on Thursday heard Ms Ardern is yet to signal when she will move to shift the one-way travel bubble into free movement between the two close countries.
Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade's deputy head of COVID co-ordination Jenny Da Rinn said officials had been working on arrangements including health and border preconditions with their Kiwi counterparts since June.
"Those arrangements are not yet finalised. We're getting very close, but we are still having official discussions," she said.
"One way travel has helped us test some of that planning.
"Once the arrangements are finalised it will be up to the two governments to decide when to commence based on the health advice."
She said since one-way travel had opened to NSW and NT, the ACT and South Australia had also expressed an interest in the arrangement.
Ms Da Rinn said even the two national governments agreed to open the travel bubble, states would still be required to opt in and airlines would determine where the flights landed.
Business Council of Australia modelling showed that opening borders to New Zealand could generated $1.8 billion for the national economy over 12 months.
Originally published as Border blockade may leave Qld locked out of NZ travel bubble