Mask mandates on flights could soon be scrapped but a national approach must first be agreed to by all states and territories, the health minister says.
While Mark Butler has not yet received advice from public health authorities about removing mask requirements on international flights to Australia he says rules on domestic flights are a matter for state and territory leaders to decide.
The key decision-making committee for health emergencies – the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC) – decided at their most recent meeting masks should still be worn on flights, Mr Butler said.
“If advice comes to me … about lifting the mask mandate on incoming flights, it would be my intention to consult with state ministers,” he told reporters in Canberra on Wednesday.
The mask mandate on domestic flights will be decided at a national level and it’s important for all state and territory leaders to be on the same page when the advice to lift it comes, the health minister said.
He does not want to see mask wearing rules during flights differ from state to state.
As for the return of mask wearing in public places and venue density limits during winter, Mr Butler does not expect those measures to come back into place.
“I don’t think public health authorities are suggesting that there’s any likelihood of advice around those old public health measures,” he said.
“Australians are glad to see those in the rear vision mirror.”