AMA welcomes National Cabinet roadmap to opening up

8 Jul 2021

The AMA welcomes the leadership shown by National Cabinet in the release of the national roadmap allowing Australia to open up in a safe and sustainable way. 

AMA President, Dr Omar Khorshid said it was important that any plan be based on science, and this plan is to be based on modelling of a Delta outbreak on a vaccinated community. 

“The AMA has repeatedly called for consistency in responses across the nation – including in our May Communique ‘Prepare Australia before opening up to the world’, and National Cabinet’s plan will move us towards that goal,” he said. 

Dr Khorshid highlighted that the four-staged plan recognised that our road out of this crisis is vaccination, and outlined a future that includes a reduction in restrictions, a limited use of lockdowns, an increase in travel caps, and potential return of international outbound travel – particularly for those who are vaccinated. 

The plan also recognised that we should give those who had done the right thing by being vaccinated the benefit of greater freedoms, which range from exemptions from local restrictions or reduced quarantine requirements, then in later stages of the plan, to even greater freedoms such as international travel. 

In the short term the plan addresses the issue of quarantine breaches by reducing the caps on international arrivals. 

“We still need to fix our quarantine system so that we don’t continue to see leaks and lockdowns while the majority of Australians remain unvaccinated,” Dr Khorshid said.  

“But given our reliance on an overseas health workforce, the caps will exacerbate the shortages of doctors and nurses as well as other critical workers in Australia. They will need to be lifted as soon as possible to reduce the impact on vulnerable Australians who need medical care.” 

The AMA welcomed the increase in Commonwealth flights to help Australian’s overseas return home, and the increased use of Darwin facilities for quarantine. 

The plan includes lockdowns continuing as a response to outbreaks, but highlighted that those responses should be consistent across jurisdictions – something the AMA has long called for. 

Read the full media release here.