ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr has refused to weigh in on the international border closures debate, after the NSW Treasurer pushed for vaccine targets to be linked to Australia's reopening.
The federal budget suggested the country's international borders would be closed until mid-2022, and Mr Barr on Monday said he didn't think people could say whether that was too early or too late.
"What will clearly help is more people getting vaccinated," he said.
The Chief Minister said the rollout had been a "slow process so far" and vaccine supply issues had clearly constrained Australia's capacity to get more people vaccinated.
He said those factors were undoubtedly linked to the reopening of the country's international borders but he didn't say whether he agreed with NSW Treasurer Dominic Perrottet.
The Treasurer told The Sydney Morning Herald vaccine targets linked to the reopening of international borders were crucial to reassuring the community that Australia would not be closed forever.
"The question though of when the international border opens is a matter for the Australian government," Mr Barr said.
The Chief Minister was asked whether he agreed with former deputy chief medical officer Nick Coatsworth, who told a Royal Australasian College of Surgeons audience that Covid eradication was a "false idol", and practitioners should prepare the public for reopening borders and the return of the virus.
"We'll go from a pandemic to an endemic disease," Mr Barr said.
"The whole point of the vaccination program is to ensure that people don't get very sick and that they don't die from COVID-19.
"But ... the coronavirus will be circulating in around the world, probably for the rest of our lives. So we are going to have to get used to living with it."
The Chief Minister said there were questions about how many booster vaccines Australia would need, and whether the coronavirus vaccine would become part of the country's annual vaccination program.
"We just don't know yet but the assumption is it probably will be," Mr Barr said.
"At some point, the Australian international border will need to open but that's a decision that the Australian government will make.
"Clearly the more progressed we are in the vaccine rollout, the more comfort the Australian government will have to make that decision."
Mr Barr said the federal government could have a stronger education campaign to target the some 30 per cent of the Australian community who were somewhat hesitant to get a Covid vaccine.
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