WESTERN Australia is standing alone as the only one of the country’s states and territories to reject a plan to reopen borders by Christmas.
WA Premier Mark McGowan is remaining firm on his position that border controls must remain in place “as long as the health advice recommends it.”
Speaking at a press briefing on Friday following discussions at National Cabinet between Australia’s State and Territory leaders on lifting Covid-19 restrictions, McGowan made it clear that WA would not be agreeing to “a hotspot model or a hotspot definition which replaces our successful border controls,” given WA’s “unique factors.
“Unlike the rest of the country, WA is not currently in a recession. So we won’t be prematurely reopening our borders,” he said.
The WA Premier argues that the controls have been key to the economic recovery of the state and to protecting the population’s health.
He insisted that opening up again too soon “could be deadly, and there would be economic devastation.
“That would result in the reintroduction of restrictions. That would possibly mean reintroducing, again, a hard border. It would mean people would die,” he maintained.
McGowan also refused to give a firm idea on how long it would be before WA does reopen its borders to the rest of the country, but indicated that community transmission of the virus would have to be eliminated on the east coast first.
“A date will be set when our health advice recommends it, but that might be some time away,” he commented.
He did add that he “feels for” people separated from their loved ones, but made the point that there are not communities on WA’s border and said the situation is not as disruptive as for people living in other parts of the country.