Government 'banking' on international travel resuming in 2022

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The Federal Government is "banking" on international travel returning to some form of normal next year as it prepares to deliver the 2021-22 Budget tomorrow.

Michael McCormack wearing a suit and tie: Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack says Australia's borders will open when it is safe to do so.

Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack says Australia's borders will open when it is safe to do so.

Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack told Today the government was hopeful 2022 could be the year that Australia opens its borders.

"We're hoping, we're counting, we're banking on, of course, international travel being back to some sort of pre-COVID normality next year," he said.

"We'll take the best advice from medical experts as we've done the whole way through."

However, messaging continues to be inconsistent, with Prime Minister Scott Morrison at the weekend suggesting there was no appetite for international borders to open anytime soon.

In a Facebook post yesterday, Mr. Morrison clarified the country's borders would only open when it is "safe to do so", but rejected the idea of "fortress Australia" posed by media reports.

"We still have a long way to go, and there are still many uncertainties ahead," he said.

"Australia's COVID suppression strategy has not changed to an 'elimination' strategy nor is 'zero cases' our goal."

Mr. McCormack today said the government was on the same page when it came to borders reopening.

"We want open borders, of course, we do," he said.

"We want our planes bringing migrants, we want planes bringing tourists, we want planes bringing people who will seek permanent residency to fill those 43,000 jobs that are going in regional Australia right now.

"We'll only do it when it's safe to do so."

The Federal Budget is set to deliver 30,000 more jobs through spending on "vital infrastructure" including roads, rail, and freight networks.

The aged care sector is also set to get a cash injection of an extra $18 billion over four years, while the national disability insurance sector will get an additional $12 billion.

Despite the government staring down a trillion-dollar debt, Mr. McCormack said he had "every confidence" in the ability of Australians to grow the economy.

"This budget is going to secure Australia's future through the recovery process and I've got every confidence in Australia's ability to do just that," he said.

9News Political Editor Chris Uhlmann said the government aimed to force the unemployment rate down below five percent.

"If you go back to the 1970s, unemployment rose above that mark and has been on average about six percent ever since," he said.

"The government will keep spending until it gets down."


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