Western Australia Premier Mark McGowan will keep the border closed with NSW and Queensland closed until Christmas, as he will focus on obtaining a high vaccination rate before reopening saying the state would reopen its borders next year, with high levels of vaccination, to manage a “soft landing” out of COVID-19.
Related WA: Private: WA’s bountiful wildflower season
Related Tourism Routes: Fiji to welcome back Aussies
From ABC news 19.10.21
The WA Premier has again ruled out opening the border to higher risk states in time for Christmas, while announcing travellers from Queensland will no longer need to quarantine from this Friday.
- WA will not open to NSW and Victoria in time for Christmas
- But Queensland will be reclassified as very low risk from Friday
- It means travellers from that state will no longer have to quarantine
“People have been telling me they miss seeing their uncles, their aunts, their mothers, fathers and children,” Ms Palaszczuk said.
The announcement put the spotlight on WA, where the timeline for reopening to all states was ambiguous.
But Mr McGowan stood firm on Tuesday.
Mr McGowan said the plan remained for WA to reopen to Victoria and New South Wales sometime next year, when between 80 and 90 per cent of West Australians aged 12 and over were fully vaccinated.
“I don’t want to set dates that subsequently change,” Mr McGowan said.
“I am doing the right thing by the state.
“Making sure that we remain as healthy as possible, keeping COVID out whilst our vaccination rates continue to climb each and every day, and ensuring that when the time is right next year, we will reopen to those states in a safe way.”
High vaccination rates will enable ‘soft landing’ on road to normality
Mr McGowan said the state would reopen its borders next year, with high levels of vaccination, to manage a “soft landing” out of COVID-19.
“I don’t want us to fall at the last hurdle,” he said.
Mr McGowan said unless there was a change in health advice, WA would not be allowing vaccinated people from Victoria and NSW into WA, even with home quarantine, prior to Christmas.
“When you are vaccinated you can still spread the virus,” Mr McGowan said.
“If there is health advice that reduces the risk levels of New South Wales, well then obviously we would put that in place.
“But at this point in time it is extreme risk.”
WA plan at odds with clear roadmaps laid out in other states
Mr McGowan said Queensland was in a very different position to WA, despite the decision to reclassify the state from low risk to very low risk from 12.01am on Friday, meaning travellers from there will no longer need to quarantine.
“Imagine if we opened up like they are proposing to do before Christmas and then we have to put in place mask wearing requirements and restrictions on the number of people going to restaurants and cafes, how many people can come to Christmas lunch.
“I don’t really want to do that. So setting out the timetable that Queensland has is not something we are going to do.”
Queensland and the Northern Territory have both set out clear roadmaps to re-opening their borders.
Tasmania has a plan to reopen its borders when it reaches a 90 per cent vaccination rate.
And the South Australian Premier has indicated his state would reopen at 80 per cent double dose vaccinated, which was expected in December.
Mr McGowan announced WA was on track to have 60 per cent of its population over 12 fully vaccinated by the end of this week.
He said from now on, the whole eligible population — all West Australians aged over 12 — would be counted in the state’s overall vaccination rates.
Under WA’s controlled border, the NT, South Australia, Tasmania and now Queensland are all classified very low risk.
The ACT is medium risk, while Victoria and New South Wales remained as extreme risk.
Perth residents have mixed feelings about reopening state’s border
Perth resident Jade Powell does not think the WA Government should set a date for the borders to reopen anytime soon.
“Just keep it closed for now until everyone’s moderately safe or has the vaccine.”
Like many with family overseas, Priya, who’s originally from Mauritius, said the borders should reopen immediately.
“I’m due for my next baby and I already have a 15-month-old, and I have no help at all,” she said.
“They should give at least [a travel] exemption for the family, so our parents can come over and help us.
Nish and Lilly said they’re indifferent about the current situation but would prefer if borders remained closed.
“I don’t know, I don’t really care about it,” Nish said.
“I think it’s important it’s shut… I think we should stay safe as long as possible,” Lilly said.
They think the government’s plan to set a date to reopen once 80 or 90 per cent vaccination rates have been met is reasonable.