Shepparton News

Rift over reopening



CANBERRA: Thousands of Australian­s stranded overseas could be welcomed into NSW when an 80 per cent coronaviru­s vaccine coverage target is met.

More than 40,000 people are registered to come home with the number increasing because of slashed arrival caps put in place because of Delta strain outbreaks.

Despite her state recording another 1116 local cases yesterday, NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklia­n is anticipati­ng internatio­nal travel will restart in midNovembe­r.

‘‘New South Wales looks forward to stepping up and welcoming thousands of Australian­s home who have been waiting to come home for a long time,’’ she told reporters in Sydney.

Ms Berejiklia­n also declared it was ‘‘impossible’’ to eliminate the Delta strain despite some states fiercely guarding their COVID-free status.

Tensions between federal, state and territory government­s continue to bubble over the national reopening plan which has set over-16 vaccine coverage targets of 70 and 80 per cent.

WA Premier Mark McGowan has signalled he won’t abandon his hardline stance towards states with high virus cases.

Ms Berejiklia­n is raising hopes life will be closer to normal at 70 per cent but other state and territory leaders are tempering expectatio­ns.

Victoria recorded 120 new cases yesterday, the first time the state has broken triple figures since last year. Two deaths in Victoria and three in NSW lifted the national toll to 1011.

The Federal Government is warning state border closures could be open to High Court challenges at the higher vaccinatio­n threshold.

Attorney-General Michaelia Cash said the same legal arguments that led the High Court to block billionair­e Clive Palmer’s case against WA last year could change. ‘‘Once you hit 80 per cent, you are in a fundamenta­lly different position if you are looking at the issue of proportion­ality,’’ she told The Australian.

Senator Cash said the government was not considerin­g court action but expects Mr Palmer or others could try to overturn interstate travel bans.

Senior Labor frontbench­er Tanya Plibersek said the Morrison Government had supported the billionair­e’s last legal effort.

The Federal Government argues it withdrew from the case despite earlier intervenin­g in support of Mr Palmer.

Liberal frontbench­er Jane Hume said Senator Cash’s comments were misinterpr­eted as paving the way for a court challenge. ‘‘There is going to be no High Court challenge,’’ she told the ABC.

An alliance of 80 major employers including the big four banks, Qantas, mining giant BHP, major supermarke­ts and energy companies have called for the national plan to be maintained.

Australia has fully vaccinated 35 per cent of its population aged 16 and over, while 58.7 per cent have received one dose.

 ?? Pictures: AAP ?? Different outlook: Gladys Berejiklia­n (left) and Mark McGowan (right) are not on the same page over reopening.
Pictures: AAP Different outlook: Gladys Berejiklia­n (left) and Mark McGowan (right) are not on the same page over reopening.

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