Property Australia

Lowering the drawbridge

Ken Morrison Ken Morrison November 23, 2021

This week we’ve had two very welcome milestones.

First, with the reopening of South Australia’s state borders yesterday, the country has taken another tangible step towards living with COVID-19 and away from crisis pandemic management.

South Australia is the first of the non-lockdown jurisdictions to open up and a successful transition will give confidence to others right around the country.

Second, the federal government has announced further steps to reopen our international borders. From 1 December, fully vaccinated eligible visa holders – who return a negative COVID test prior to departure – can come to Australia without requiring a travel exemption.

Eligible visa holders will include skilled workers, students, as well as humanitarian, working holiday makers and provisional family visa holders.

Australia will also welcome back fully vaccinated citizens from Japan and Korea from 1 December, who will join Singaporeans as part of our ‘safe travel zone’.

These rule changes are expected to allow 200,000 visa holders into the country at a critical time for our economic recovery. While very welcome, international arrivals must still comply with relevant state or territory quarantine arrangements.

The Property Council has been warning of the long-term economic consequences of idling population growth throughout this year. May’s federal Budget revealed slowing economic and employment growth expectations over the forward estimates as border restrictions constrain our economy.

By releasing this lap band around our national economy, Australian businesses and education institutions will finally be able to satisfy their appetite for overseas talent and create the energy required to drive growth.

Without the restoration of COVID-safe international movements, Australia risks losing ground to our competitors as students and high value workers take other opportunities in an increasingly open world.

The Property Council will be encouraging policy makers to take more steps in this direction as our transition continues.