Simon Birmingham said the decision to shut the border was one of the main reasons for Australia's success in suppressing COVID-19 and it would not be lifted for general travel any time soon.
"I do sadly think that in terms of open tourist-related travel in or out of Australia, that remains quite some distance off," Senator Birmingham told the National Press Club.
"Just because of the practicalities of the volumes that are involved and the need for us to first and foremost keep putting health first."
Asked whether that meant the border would not open until next year, he said, "I think that is more likely the case".
What about all of this talk about a trans-Tasman bubble?
The Federal Government is working on a couple of exceptions to Australia's border closure, including allowing travel between Australia and New Zealand.
Talks between the two nations are underway and an expert panel has submitted a report to both governments on how it might work.
There is still no timeframe on when it might happen though, with New Zealand's Foreign Minister warning the plans are being held up by state border closures in Australia.
Some international students will be let back into the country to study from next month as part of "pre-approved" pilot programs and Senator Birmingham has suggested some business travel may also be opened up.
"I think those who might not only be international students, but be here for longer-term work purposes or longer-term business and investment purposes, logically you can extend those sort of same safeguards to them and their state," he said.
"I hope that we can look eventually at some of those countries who have similar successes in suppressing the spread of COVID to Australia and New Zealand, and in working through that with those countries, find safe pathways to deal with essential business travel that helps to contribute to jobs across our economies."