NT, SA, WA join forces for new border triangle travel plan
CHIEF Minister Michael Gunner, SA Premier Steven Marshall and WA Premier Mark McGowan have been called on by their jurisdictions' peak business bodies to unite and form a "Centre-West Travel Triangle".
Business SA has joined forces with the Chamber of Commerce NT to deliver the call for the Centre-West Travel Triangle to be opened between the SA, NT and WA.
They say the closed borders are costing the respective states and NT millions in lost tourism dollars with thousands of jobs also on the line.
"This united call to re-open the borders between South Australia, the NT and Western Australia is about keeping businesses alive and protecting jobs," Business SA CEO Martin Haese said.
"Together, we recognise the vitally important role tourism plays in our local economies."
Chamber of Commerce NT chief executive Greg Ireland has warned Territory businesses were being pushed to breaking point.
He said domestic spending was at an all-time low directly impacting the revenues of local business and there was never a better time for a Centre-West Travel Triangle.
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"Without increased volume from interstate visitation many Territory businesses will be pushed to breaking point," he said.
"Typically, the NT gets more than one million interstate visitors who provide a substantial contribution to our economy.
"Territory business is crying out for the borders to be opened to maximise this unique opportunity to be the destination of choice for many Australians. It is holding up a number of investment decisions for business and jobs."
Mr Haese said opening the borders of the Centre-West Travel Triangle would provide an immediate boost to the more than 18,000 tourism business in SA with further knock-on benefits for other businesses such as transport, cafes and restaurants and retail stores.
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"While we understand the need to protect South Australians from the further spread of COVID-19, the best opportunity to open our borders is with those states and territories that have flattened the curve. The Territory has zero cases while Western Australia has less than 30 active cases.
Both jurisdictions are also well advanced in easing their restrictions up to Stage 3.
"The SA, NT, WA travel triangle makes a whole lot of sense. We're neighbours and there is a natural affinity between us all."
The WA Chamber of Commerce and Industry says the coronavirus successes of its state, South Australia and the Northern Territory could represent opportunity.
CCIWA chief executive officer Chris Rodwell has already made it clear that the easing of border restrictions cannot come soon enough.
"The sooner that border restrictions can be safely eased, the better for the many businesses who rely on tourism for their livelihoods," Mr Rodwell told the NT News.
Great Southern Rail's chief operating officer Luke Walker said demand for The Ghan and Indian Pacific rail journeys was still strong.
"Guests are telling us that they're ready to travel again and keen to explore SA, NT and WA," he said.
"Our journeys have been suspended since March and while we understand that COVID still poses a small risk, we have worked hard to provide a safe and responsible environment for our guests and crew with our own Journey Safe experience plan and we are prepared for services to recommence."
As of yesterday, there were two people in intensive care with coronavirus across Australia. There have been 1.65 million tests conducted.
Originally published as NT, SA, WA join forces for new border triangle travel plan