Sunshine State holidays and trips between NSW and Queensland for family reunions, work and medical care will soon be simpler after the northern state agreed to fully reopen its border.
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk on Tuesday confirmed her state's border would finally be open to all NSW residents from December 1.
The border was closed to all of NSW in early August. It was reopened to those from regional NSW, as well as the ACT, in early November, but still barred people from Sydney.
It means families spanning the 29th parallel can see each other at Christmas time, while Queensland holidays for NSW residents are back on the cards.
Ms Palaszczuk said the Queensland and NSW chief health officers had been in contact after NSW reached 28 days with no local COVID-19 cases without a known source, and agreed the border should reopen.
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian on Tuesday said she'd received from Ms Palaszczuk "the best phone call I've had from anybody in ages".
Ms Berejiklian has in recent weeks repeatedly chafed against Queensland's demand for 28 days of no unsourced COVID-19 cases in NSW, saying the standard was arbitrary and had no medical rationale.
"I'm so thrilled and relieved because I know what this means for our citizens but also citizens in Queensland," Ms Berejiklian said in a statement.
"All of us felt such a glow of warmth when we saw people uniting after the Victoria-NSW border opened, so I know so many families will be booking their flights and businesses will be making arrangements to hire more staff."
Qantas and Jetstar confirmed on Tuesday they'd operate an additional 1200 return flights to Queensland from NSW and Victoria in the lead-up to Christmas as a result of the Queensland government's decision.
Virgin Australia says Queensland's decision to reopen the border with Greater Sydney will help the airline and tourism industry to get back on its feet and put more people back to work.
Peak business lobby group Business NSW said the reopening of the NSW-Queensland border was encouraging.
"It's been especially difficult for business owners to plan ahead for what is traditionally their peak period," chief executive Nola Watson said in a statement.
"We need to remain vigilant in dealing with COVID-19 and ensure appropriate tracing measures are in place at hospitality venues but with a month to go before Christmas, businesses can now see the light at the end of the tunnel."
NSW recorded its 17th consecutive day of zero locally-acquired COVID-19 cases in the 24 hours to 8pm on Monday, with six cases of the virus found among returned travellers in hotel quarantine.
NSW has not recorded an unsourced COVID-19 case since October 24.
But NSW Health has issued a plea for anyone with COVID-19 symptoms in the Liverpool region in Sydney's southwest to come forward for testing, after fragments of the virus were found in waste water.
The detection could reflect the presence of known cases of COVID-19 diagnosed in recent weeks in the area, but authorities are concerned there could also be other undetected cases.
Australian Associated Press