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Australians Now Need a Permit to Enter Victoria Under the State's New Traffic Light-Style System

And if you try to travel to the state without a valid permit, you'll be fined $4957.
By Libby Curran
January 12, 2021
By Libby Curran
January 12, 2021

With fresh COVID-19 cases continuing to pop up across Australia and community transmission still a very real issue, the Victorian Government has launched a new travel permit system in an attempt to keep the coronavirus out of the state. Victoria has just chalked up six days straight without any new locally transmitted coronavirus cases; however, with other states experiencing outbreaks in recent weeks, the Victorian Government is now tightening the borders and rolling out new regulations for anyone wanting to enter from interstate locations.

After going live yesterday, Monday, January 11, the new permit scheme will now manage all domestic travel into Victoria, using a traffic light-style system to categorise origin locations as red, orange or green — based on their level of risk. It applies to visitors who reside in other parts of Australia, as well as to any Victorian residents returning home from elsewhere.

Under the new system, travellers wanting to head into Victoria will need to apply for one of the various permit types, depending on where they've been beforehand. Anyone who has been in a designated red zone — the highest level in the system, which currently covers Greater Brisbane and Greater Sydney — is barred from entering the state. Exceptions apply to residents of NSW/Victorian border communities, and folks who've been in a red zone can also apply to receive an exemption or a permitted worker permit. The former covers instances such as emergency relocations, funerals, essential medical care, and people needing to return home for health, wellbeing, care or compassionate reasons.

That said, the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) states that exceptions are limited and that they'll only be granted in special circumstances. Victoria will be cracking down on rule-breakers, too — the government has warned that trying to make a land border crossing from a red zone will get you turned away, while attempting to enter by plane or sea without a permit will score you a $4957 fine.

Travellers coming from orange and green zones may apply online for a permit. During the application process, you'll be asked where you've travelled to — and you'll also need to answer questions about any symptoms, close contacts and previous COVID-19 diagnoses. Anyone travelling from green zones should get a permit granted easily and only need to monitor for symptoms once they've arrived, as long as you've steered clear of any red or orange zones in the previous 14 days. If you're coming from an orange zone, you'll be required to get a COVID-19 test within 72 hours of your arrival in Victoria, and to self-isolate before and after the test until you're given the all-clear.

Of course, the current designated zones and regulations are subject to change, with DHHS advising that "border arrangements are constantly reviewed based on the health situation in each state and territory".

When the system went live yesterday, it did so almost three hours after its announced launch time of 5.59pm; however, it is now up and running.

For more information on Victoria's new permit system — or to apply for one — head to the Department of Health and Human Services website.

Published on January 12, 2021 by Libby Curran
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