Victoria’s new ‘traffic light’ system to help simplify travel messages

VICTORIA has established a new permit system for all domestic travel into the state, helping to support Victoria’s rapid contact tracing efforts and giving Victorians greater certainty when they travel.

It is based on a traffic light system that allows Victoria to designate regions in other parts of Australia as green, orange or red, depending on the coronavirus risk in a particular area.

Zones will be declared by the Chief Health Officer, based on the public health risk for coronavirus transmission, and mean that certain restrictions will apply for travellers from that area.

The new permit system came into effect on Monday.

Current permits – including transit and worker permits – remain valid, so long as they are consistent with public health’s advice on zones.

Under the new system, people will need to apply for a permit to enter Victoria from anywhere in Australia, except border communities in New South Wales where locals will require proof of their home address.

The type of permit will depend on where travellers have been, with applicants required to provide details on where they are coming from and where they are travelling to.

The details will allow contact tracing teams to rapidly reach people, should a new risk emerge.

A red zone means if people have visited this area in the past 14 days, they will not be allowed to enter Victoria without an exception or exemption.

If people try to enter Victoria at a land border, they will be turned away.

Returned Victorian travellers arriving by plane or by water without a valid reason or exemption will be required to self-isolate at home for 14 days and will receive a $4957 fine.

Interstate residents presenting at an airport or seaport without a valid reason or exemption will be fined $4957 and returned to their destination on the next available flight.

If this requires an overnight stay, these individuals will need to stay in hotel quarantine until they depart.

An orange zone means that people will be able to apply for a permit and will need to take a coronavirus test within 72 hours after arriving in Victoria, isolating both before and after the test, until they receive a negative result.

A green zone means that travellers will be able to apply for a permit and enter Victoria.

Once in Victoria, and as always, they should watch for symptoms and get tested should they feel unwell.

Premier Daniel Andrews said until vaccines were rolled out, Victoria needed to continue to react and respond to changing circumstances.

“This system will make sure we can do just that, while supporting the rapid response of our contact tracing team,” he said.

As part of the permit application, travellers will also be asked whether they have any COVID-19 symptoms, whether they have been diagnosed with COVID-19 or are a close contact with someone who has, and whether they have visited particular exposure sites.

Providing misleading information is an offence, punishable with a fine of up to $1652.

Under the new system, and based on the latest advice of Victorian public health experts, regional NSW, including the Central Coast, will be reclassified as an orange zone.

That means local residents, as well as Victorians holidaying in these areas, will be able to enter Victoria if they isolate upon their arrival, get tested and stay home until they receive negative test results.

Exceptions and exemptions will continue to apply.

Health Minister Martin Foley said the traffic light system was easy to understand.

“Victorians and Australians will understand exactly what the latest public health advice means for them, and their travel plans,” he said.

“The necessary public health restrictions in place for the New South Wales border have been without doubt a challenge – but they’ve also been integral to making sure we protect the wins of every single Victorian.”

For more information about exceptions and exemptions, and for applications for the new permit system, visit the Service Victoria portal.