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States urged to open borders to tourists

Federal Tourism Minister Simon Birmingham has urged state and territory governments to open their borders to domestic holidaymakers when safe, as Qantas prepares for travel restrictions to be eased as soon as July.

Queensland has flagged border closures with southern states could remain until at least September because of the coronavirus pandemic, prompting despair from tourism groups.

WA and SA have also signalled their borders will remain shut until the end of winter.

Tasmanian Premier Peter Gutwein, meanwhile, says it is far too early to set a date.

"If we can continue to follow those rules ... I expect that in July we will be able to set a date for when our borders will come down. To set a date now ... would not be common sense," Mr Gutwein said on Tuesday.

Senator Birmingham said states and territories should continue on the roadmap to reopening.

"Those states who've got border controls in place, assuming we've continued to see very low rates of transmission of COVID-19, ought to be looking at opening up their borders," he told the Nine Network on Tuesday.

The senator later said there was no reason why state borders couldn't reopen well before September if Australia continued to see success in containing the virus.

Tourism, which employs one in 13 Australians, has been one of the hardest-hit sectors as governments act to contain the spread of COVID-19.

Most tourism workers have been forced on to wage subsidies or the temporarily boosted dole.

But Qantas and Jetstar are planning ahead for eased restrictions, revealing hygiene and distancing measures to be rolled out from June 12.

Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce said the company was preparing for the resumption of domestic travel within the next few months.

"There is a possibility that we might have nearly all the states opening up as early as July and we're planning for that," Mr Joyce said on Tuesday.

"We have the ability to put a large amount of our capacity back into the air dependent on plans, and we're giving people certainty about what the process would look like, and the health and wellbeing that we're putting in place."

The airlines' COVID-19 measures include the provision of recommended face masks for passengers, enhanced aircraft cleaning, hand-sanitising stations at departure gates, and sequenced boarding and disembarkation to avoid crowding.

Service and catering will be simplified to minimise contact between passengers and crew, with passengers asked to limit their movement around the cabin once seated.

Qantas medical director Dr Ian Hosegood said social distancing wasn't practical on an aircraft and unnecessary given the "infinitesimal" onboard transmission risk.

Senator Birmingham said public health was crucial but it was necessary to kickstart the economy.

"We need people moving across this country again when it's safe to do so," he told Nine.

Recreational regional travel within NSW will be allowed again from June 1, The Daily Telegraph reported on Tuesday.

"Even if some states don't let us travel there, we'll invite the other states here," NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian told the paper.

"If people are spending their dollars locally, that has huge opportunities for us. The key is keeping people in jobs."

Meanwhile, federal Health Minister Greg Hunt said a travel bubble with New Zealand couldn't happen until Australia's state borders opened.

Queensland's plan to reopen borders in September was later than expected, Mr Hunt added.

"Certainly I would imagine a New Zealand bubble could be in place before the 1st of October if not earlier, but I'm just working back from Queensland's dates," he told an Australia Institute webinar.

Federal Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese said no one wanted restrictions to remain longer than necessary, but state governments were making their decisions based on health advice.

© AAP 2020