Australian state and territory leaders bickered on Thursday (May 21) over whether to reopen internal borders, a major step to rejuvenating the country's A$80 billion ($50 billion) domestic tourism industry, as part of measures to ease coronavirus restrictions.
The implementation of the federal plan is down to the leaders of individual state and territories, who come from opposing political parties and disagree on how safe it is to allow unrestricted movement throughout the country.
New South Wales state, the country's most populous, has called for all borders to be opened as a critical step to giving the ailing economy a much needed boost.
"The less borders the better, the less number of rules the better, because that really spurs on economic activity, allows people to be innovative and also gives people more choice and that's why what we have done in New South Wales whether it's the return to schools or the return to business," said NSW Premier, Gladys Berejiklian.
"Here in Queensland it is best for us that we continue to minimise movement across our domestic borders.
So of course we are allowing people to come into Queensland for compassionate reasons or and of course to move freight, and there are a number of other areas, but this is not the time for tourists to travel into Queensland because one case can cause an enormous setback to our plan to open up our communities," said Queensland state Chief Medical Officer Jeannette Young.
Australia has reported just over 7,000 COVID-19 infections, including 100 deaths, well below figures reported by other developed countries.