Two in three want state borders reopened

More than two thirds of Australians want state borders reopened by Christmas as confidence in the public health response to coronavirus continues to climb.

States have begun to ease restrictions as Victoria’s second wave is brought under control and infections in NSW slow to a trickle.

Some 67 per cent of respondents to a weekly survey by lobbying firm Newgate want border closures canned by Christmas, up from 63 per cent.

Victorians and NSW residents remain most supportive of open borders, while the majority of those in Western Australia want the state to remain shut.

Victoria recorded 15 new cases of coronavirus on Monday and one more death, taking the national toll to 895.

Melbourne’s 14-day average, which is crucial to easing lockdown restrictions, has dropped to 10.6.

The average must be below five for restrictions to ease on October 19.

People in regional Victoria could also be allowed to travel to the Northern Territory from November 2 if their case numbers remain low.

NSW has now gone 11 days without a locally transmitted case of coronavirus and the state’s recent cases have all been confined to returned overseas in hotel quarantine.

But NSW recorded 11 new cases in hotel quarantine on Tuesday, which is slightly higher than usual, and only 4000 tests were conducted.

State health officials are concerned by the recent drop in test numbers and have appealed to the community to come forward.

Control of community transmission is the key condition for NSW residents being able to enter Queensland from November 1.

Queensland recorded yet another day of no new coronavirus infections on Tuesday and there are just seven active cases across the state.

Newgate’s survey continues to show a steady rise in community confidence about easing coronavirus restrictions.

There has been a significant increase in the proportion of people who agree governments are taking appropriate measures to protect people’s health.

But Victorians remain least likely to agree restrictions are fair and reasonable, with discontent becoming more obvious in the past week as Melbourne residents remain in lockdown.

Economic recovery has firmed as the number one concern among Australians, with worries about the coronavirus falling to the lowest level since May, before the second wave.

A growing majority of people believe the spread of the virus will get better in coming months.

And while predictions for the economy continue to improve, concerns about job security are falling.

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg has promised a jobs-focused federal budget to steer the economy out of recession.

The budget will outline record deficits, growing debt and huge spending measures.

Personal income tax cuts, wage subsidies for young workers, investment allowances for businesses and lump sum cash payments for pensioners will all be outlined.

The climb out of recession will depend on virus numbers dropping and a vaccine being rolled out next year.

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