Finance Minister Simon Birmingham says the government will be taking a “cautious, careful approach” toward reopening international borders in Australia.

Mr Birmingham’s comments come as Qantas CEO Alan Joyce has publicly estimated the airline will start operating international flights as soon as December of this year when the Australian population is forecasted to reach the 80 per cent vaccination target.

“We want, under the national plan, to see Australians get vaccinated – hit that 70 per cent targets, 80 per cent targets.

“That’s the key part that will enable us to move from Phase A, into Phase B, but then into the latter phases that will get us back to seeing those international borders reopen.

“It will be a commercial decision, as they reopen, for Qantas to make.

“Of course, we will be looking to work closely where we can with Qantas around the types of green zone countries that might be possible in the early stages of reopening.”

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