Australian travel bubble with Singapore could close window on agreement with New Zealand

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says Australia’s push to open borders with Singapore could threaten the goal of a trans-Tasman bubble with her country.

Australia and New Zealand have a long-standing agreement to remove quarantine obligations on travellers dating back to May last year.

Eastern Australian states have fulfilled their side of the deal, allowing Kiwis to bypass the otherwise mandatory fortnight of isolation.

New Zealand is yet to do so.

Jacinda Ardern has voiced her reluctance for a three-way travel bubble with Australia and Singapore.
Jacinda Ardern has voiced her reluctance for a three-way travel bubble with Australia and Singapore. Credit: Harry Thomson/7NEWS.com.au

Ardern is holding back out of an abundance of caution, following her country’s health-first approach to fighting COVID-19.

And it means the window may be closing on a trans-Tasman travel bubble as Australia begins to explore other options.

Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack went so far on Sunday to suggest that reciprocal quarantine-free travel between Australia and Singapore could begin by July.

But Ardern, who isn’t yet interested in a three-way travel bubble, hasn’t given up on Australia.

She told Radio NZ on Monday that enabling quarantine-free travel for Australians was still her intention.

“Australia is the country that most closely mirrors both our strategy and our management at the borders,” she told listeners.

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