Australian’s could be cruising from domestic ports before the end of the year, and even by Christmas, says Australian Minister for Health, Greg Hunt.
On Sunday [14 November 2021], Hunt confirmed that the Biosecurity Act determination on cruising (one of four determinations) was currently being reviewed. That follows the order for retail (namely duty-free or international airport retail) having just been repealed.
“The next one [determination] that we’re reviewing is cruise ships. We are working with the states and territories and the chief health officers,” Hunt said.
“You need a double green light to restart the cruise ship industry, and that is a Commonwealth order, which is lifted.”
“We’re reviewing that right now, precisely on the basis of the 90%-plus first vaccination rate and the 83% second vaccination rate.
“And so, I expect to be able to make a decision on cruise ships in the coming weeks once we’ve got the medical information but it will require at least one state or territory to partner on that.”
“But we’re working with a number of states and territories, we’ll let them make their own considerations. But, we would like to see cruising back on before Christmas,” Hunt stated.
CLIA Australasia Managing Director Joel Katz welcomed the news, saying Hunt’s words were “very encouraging” but said more work still needed to be done.
“We still need the states and territories to sit down with industry to finalise our Covid-Safe protocols, before we will see cruise ships return – there are 8-12 week lead times to get ships back, so we need to be having those discussions now if we want to see cruise ships returning before the end of the summer!” Katz said.