Australia to open borders next year: What does it mean for you?

Person walking through an airport with a rolling travel bag considering options as Australia's borders open in 2022.

The 2021 Federal Budget will be a financial plan like no other. After more than a year of COVID-induced lockdowns, income support subsidies, industry bailouts, childcare support schemes and travel bans, the government is honing in on efforts for economic recovery. 

But it’s that last point – travel – which might catch the eye of many Australians at home and overseas who have been waiting on news about national borders reopening. 

The 2021-2022 budget has an answer to this (for now), with Australia’s national border opening cautiously forecasted for mid-next year. 

This announcement could have significant impacts on everyone living in Australia, whether you’re champing at the bit to head on an overseas escape or happy staying home in your city digs. 

So, what might the border reopening mean for you? Let’s find out.

Will Aussies holiday at home or abroad in 2022?

Summer ended on a $7 billion domestic holiday boom, but Treasurer Josh Frydenberg has said this boost to the local economy is “a pandemic effect, not a permanent one.” 

Considering the country’s stringent quarantine measures, international tourism dollars are secondary on the agenda, with migration being the government’s core goal. The focus is to bring migration back to pre-pandemic levels, a point contested by Labor leader Anthony Albanese who argued reliance on temporary migrant workers has been too great.

Despite this opposition, Frydenberg and Prime Minister Scott Morrison anticipate the move will encourage broader economic growth by enhancing the skilled labour force, filling jobs in regional locations and boosting infrastructure development. 

For Aussies holidaying at home, this might signal an end to the domestic travel incentives we’ve seen over the last few months. But open borders go both ways, and this means international travel beyond the New Zealand bubble could be on the cards with other countries deemed 'Safe Travel Zones' by the government.

If borders can be opened safely in 2022 you may want to investigate travel credit cards to help manage your holiday finances, or make sure you’re getting a good points deal on your rewards credit card.

And if you want to hear more about this and other budget measures, be sure listen to the latest episode of The Finance Burrito.

Changing property and rental markets

Just as we saw shifts in the housing market when migration and tourism dried up in 2020, we can expect more changes to property and rental prices when the borders reopen.

For example, as new migrants and international students return to central areas of capitals like Sydney and Melbourne, we may see rents increase where they had previously remained low due to lower tenant demand. 

This spells good news for property investors and potential problems for tenants. If you are a renter, it might be time to jump on a cheaper lease or negotiate a rent reduction before the market sees major shifts.

Similarly, if more workers head to regional locations, there could be more home buyer competition in areas which have already seen a surge in sea-or-tree-change property investors. This could affect property prices which in turn impacts rental costs.

Whether you’re facing changing housing costs or trying to save up for a long-awaited holiday, you can figure out your finances with Mozo’s budget calculator and make sure you’re prepared for the road ahead.