Most Australians want the borders open now for medical, funerals and work travel

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Australians overwhelmingly support opening domestic borders immediately for medical (87%), compassionate (82%) and work (67%) reasons, according to the latest wave of SEC Newgate Research’s Covid-19 tracker survey.

With concerns about coronavirus continuing to ease, 63% of Australians are also keen to see all borders completely open by Christmas – up from 58% last week.

Taken from Monday 14 to Wednesday 16 September, the survey of nearly 1700 respondents also explored Victorians’ attitudes to the lockdowns and sentiment about the pace of easing restrictions.

While regional Victoria reopened overnight, the hard shutdown in Melbourne continues into its eighth week and there has been an increase in those saying the roadmap is ‘too slow and cautious’, rising to 38% from 33% last week. Just under half (48%) now say the pace is appropriate’, down from 53% last week while 11% continue to think it is ‘too fast and risky’.  

More broadly, concern about coronavirus is easing and this week, for the first time since early July, the level of unprompted concern has dropped below the 50% mark (48%). We’re also seeing optimism reflected in predictions for the virus spread, with 51% believing it will improve in three months, up from 38% four weeks ago.


Ahead of the much-anticipated National Cabinet meeting tomorrow, support to open state and territory borders in the next three months continues to rise across all states. It is strongest  in NSW (82%, up from 48% a month ago) and Victoria (77%, up from 51%) with Queensland at 58% (up from 42%) and WA at 45% (up from 22%).

And as flagged above, most believe these borders should be relaxed now for medical, compassionate and work reasons. However only 29% think they should be relaxed for tourism purposes in the short term.

While support for opening domestic borders continues to climb, the case for international borders remains resolute with only 28% keen to see them open so that people from overseas can travel to Australia. However, in a fillip for the university sector there is much stronger support for international students with 49% supporting their entry, as long as they are quarantined for two weeks on arrival.

Economic pessimism easing

With confirmation about Australia officially being in recession, economic concerns are widespread with 81% saying they are ‘extremely’ or ‘quite’ concerned about the economy and this is consistent with last week’s result on a national basis. Looking by state, NSW is trending more positive while Victoria is trending more negative. Overall pessimism is easing and 57% think the economy will get worse in a month, significantly lower than 78% six weeks ago. This week also saw falls in concern about job security (62% to 56%) and impacts on the share market or superannuation (58% to 52%). 

Grand final crowds!

And finally, as the football season in most codes heads towards finals and grand finals, there is cautious support for allowing people to attend large sporting events. According to the latest research, 29% would support allowing spectators to these events within the next month, assuming appropriate measures are in place to maintain hygiene and social distancing. This increases to 51% within three months, in line with the timing of the AFL and NRL Grand Finals in late October!

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