Trade Minister's overseas mission to unlock EU vaccine supply

Australia's Trade and Tourism Minister is headed to Europe in an effort to crack the EU's stranglehold on COVID-19 vaccine supply, which is being blamed for Australia's disrupted rollout.

Trade Minister's overseas mission to unlock EU vaccine supply

Australia's Trade and Tourism Minister is headed to Europe in an effort to crack the EU's stranglehold on COVID-19 vaccine supply, which is being blamed for Australia's disrupted rollout.

Dan Tehan told Today he hoped to convince the EU that using export restrictions on vaccines was not the way forward.

"I'll be seeking to see whether there are alternatives to using export restrictions to try and speed up production of the vaccine globally and to ensure that contracts can be honoured," he said.

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"Because when they're not honoured, as we have seen here in Australia, it does disrupt the planning of the vaccine rollout."

Mr Tehan said Australia had been shorted by about three million doses of the vaccine.

He will also be representing New Zealand's concerns on the issue, he said, after a discussion with his trans-Tasman counterpart.

And Mr Tehan warned that other countries in the region would be especially vulnerable to ongoing disruptions of supply.

"In terms of planning not just here in Australia but in countries like Papua New Guinea, for instance, where the situation with regards to COVID-19 is also fraught, is very difficult for these countries to be able to plan their vaccine rollouts," he said.

"So we've got to be able to provide certainty and the only way you can do that is by ensuring the contracts will be honoured."

An Ipswich aged care worker has allegedly received the wrong second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

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Mr Tehan will also meet with the Director-General of the World Trade Organisation, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala who has been similarly critical of export restrictions.

The minister said he was also planning to look at the possibility of opening up more travel bubbles, similar to that set up with New Zealand.

"If there's the potential for Singapore, Vietnam, South Korea down the track, we will continue to provide that support for our tourism industry," he said.

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However, for the moment, he said, Australians were travelling more and more within the country.

"There's figures out today which also demonstrate that, if we can get Australians travelling in Australia and spending like they do overseas, we will actually get a net benefit to the tune of $7.5 billion for our tourism industry," Mr Tehan said.

"The fact that Australians are travelling here and spending like they haven't spent before is also a very good sign for our tourism industry locally."

Source : 9 News More