Prime Minister Scott Morrison has urged premiers to be “calm and consistent” in their messaging around Christmas travel ahead of an emergency National Cabinet meeting with states and territories on Tuesday.
Mr Morrison visited a logistics business in Eagle Farm in Brisbane on Monday to unveil a new truckies apprenticeship program to help meet the growing demand for drivers due to COVID-19 prompting a spike in online shopping.
At a press conference afterwards he was asked about whether he held concerns for the airline sector amid rising cases of Omicron.
“It’s very important, I think we get some clearer certainty about what arrangements are,” he said.
“I think Australians need to know that if they are going to get on a plane and get somewhere they can get off at the other end, they can do what they want to do, and return home.
“I would urge for greater certainty around those arrangements.
“We are taking Omicron very seriously, every state and territory is, but we will keep our head, interrogate the data closely, take the best medical advice we possibly can to make the right decisions for the Australian conditions.”
Mr Morrison confirmed he had convened an “informal” national cabinet meeting for Tuesday.
“I have convened that, the purpose of it was to give everybody an update on the information we have and share the information the states and territories have,” he said.
“It’s not unusual we would be meeting more regularly with Omicron being where it is.”
The Prime Minister was asked to deliver a message to Australians who may be increasingly nervous about travelling over Christmas in case premiers don’t end up holding their nerves amid high case numbers.
“These are points we will discuss tomorrow, that is why I would urge there be calm and consistent messages given about travel arrangements and the requirements,” he said.
“Do you feel they will hold their nerves?” a reporter asked.
“What’s very important, and we did this when we worked through the national plan … it is important we do what we always sought to do, which is to save lives and livelihoods,” Mr Morrison answered
“Protect lives and livelihoods – we want to stay safe but we also want to stay safely open, so our economy can continue to grow and people can get into jobs and they can restore their incomes.
“It is about getting that balance right.”
When asked about whether he supported a mask mandate, Mr Morrison said it “should be” a choice, using an example of how he was watching the Christmas carols with his family in his Sydney electorate the night before.
“I was at the carols in the Shire last night and it was magnificent and fantastic, I really enjoyed it with the family,” he said.
“We were all wearing masks, not everyone was, but we chose to, and that’s how it should be.
“As a country, and as Australians there are many things we are responsible for and our own health is one of those things.
“Governments have been telling Australians what to do now for the last couple of years and Australians have grown tired of that.
“The way we are able to live with that is Australians making their own positive decisions about their own health.”