The Victorian Premier will go it alone and keep out travellers who haven’t had their third dose, a move being met with criticism by the federal government.

The federal government has accused Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews of dishing out a fresh “crippling blow” to the tourism sector after he told international travellers hoping to visit the state they needed to be triple-dosed.

On Monday, Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced Australia would reopen to international travellers on February 21, on the condition they were double vaccinated.

At the time, he said that while all Australians were urged to get their booster, international arrivals would not need to have received a third jab to visit.

On Tuesday, Mr Andrews said while he was looking forward to welcoming back international visitors, the state’s redefinition of fully-vaccinated would apply to travellers as it did residents.

Finance Minister Simon Birmingham on Wednesday accused Mr Andrews of casting uncertainty and urged him to reconsider.

“It’s a really great breakthrough for Australia’s tourism industry to be able to say, ‘we’re going to let everybody in who has had a double dose’, (because) that is still the standard that is advised by our health officers,” Mr Birmingham told the Today show.

“But to now have this sort of uncertainty cast across it is going to be a crippling blow to businesses that have been on their knees for two years now … (they) finally saw light at the end of the tunnel and now, of course, they’ve got this sort of uncertainty.

“I urge Daniel Andrews to reconsider, to back in the Commonwealth health advice and of course we offer anybody who comes to Australia, and anybody in Australia, the chance for a booster when they get here.”

National cabinet is still waiting on updated advice from the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisations as to whether Australia would change its definition of fully vaccinated to mean someone who had received their booster.

Mr Andrews has been lobbying for the change for some time, and had already mandated a booster for workers in health and aged care, disability, and food distribution among other sectors.

He said on Tuesday that if the advice from ATAGI regarding fully vaccinated was to change, so too would the position on the vaccination status of travellers.

“I’m sure the commonwealth government will reserve the right to change its view based on advice that comes from experts,” he said.

“All the international evidence, all of the advice I get from our team is that three doses is what’s required in order to be as safe as can be.”

Mr Birmingham said if Mr Andrews did not revoke his demand, Victoria could not only miss out on key international tourism dollars from visitors, but could face pressure from sports, events, conventions and the wider tourism industry.

“We don’t want to have a fight over this,” Mr Birmingham said.

Nationals Senator Matt Canavan said Australians had “had enough” of being split up as a country.

“We need a consistent approach here. You can’t have a situation where someone wants to travel all the way to come to Australia, and then they can’t come to all the different places,” he said on Today.

“What will happen is some people just won’t turn up at all, and that will hurt Queensland and NSW, not just Victoria.”


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