Premier Mark McGowan has made it clear he would not hesitate to reinstate WA’s hard border "weapon" if necessary, following revised border arrangements with both NSW and Victoria.
Premier Mark McGowan has made it clear he would not hesitate to reinstate WA’s hard border "weapon" if necessary, following revised border arrangements with both New South Wales and Victoria.
With an unemployment rate nearing pre-COVID levels and consumer confidence now returning, Mr McGowan said it was clear the hard border model had worked and that the state government would close the border to other states if outbreaks continued.
“The fact is that the Western Australian model has worked,” he said.
“We have been able to keep COVID-19 out, we’ve had the strongest economy in the nation, and we’ve had more than eight months now without a single case of community spread of the virus.
“We put up a border with New South Wales and Victoria in order to protect our citizens.
“If you do want to travel to Tasmania, South Australia or Queensland, you need to understand that if we need to put the state border up, we will.
“I think people understand that if they go on a holiday to Adelaide or the Gold Coast, we may well put up the border and they may well have to come home.
“To put it simply, if we need to put up the border to protect the health and economy of Western Australia, we will.
“I understand that is tough for some businesses, but it is far better than a virus spread throughout Western Australia.
"We hope we don't have to do that to other states, we hope that they don't have outbreaks, but if they do, we would have that weapon in our armoury."
The news comes just days after the state government reinstated its hard border with Victoria on New Years Day, taking the state from ‘very low risk’ to ‘medium risk’ and forcing recent Victorian arrivals into 14 days of self-quarantine.
Travel restrictions for those from New South Wales were implemented on December 20.
Mr McGowan refuted claims that the hard border closure was politically motivated, stating that everything that had been done to date was done to protect West Australians and the state's economy.
“It’s not about that,” he said.
“It’s all about making sure we do our bit to keep the virus out of Western Australia, keep the economy sound and keep our state safe and strong.
“We have a 6.4 per cent unemployment rate and have recovered every job lost over the course of COVID-19.
“We have the strongest housing, retail and consumer confidence of anywhere in Australia – potentially of anywhere in the world.
“We haven’t had a single case of community COVID spread in more than eight months.
“We have been dealing with this for a year now and we have found that putting up a border to stop the spread of the virus works.”
The Department of Health reported one new case of COVID-19 in Western Australia yesterday, with the state’s total now standing at 867.