As Victoria struggles with a resurgence of infections and returns to harder lockdown restrictions, Western Australian Premier Mark McGowan has reiterated his satisfaction with the state’s hard border approach.
Speaking at the launch of several State-Federal roads projects that have been brought forward to aid in job creation, McGowan said WA’s hard borders should remain in place for the foreseeable future.
WA has greater economic freedoms, says Premier
“I think because we’re isolated here in Western Australia, people don’t really understand that our freedoms within our state, economically, are far greater than in any other state in Australia by miles,” he said.
“I mean, if you want to go into a cafe or restaurant in the eastern states, you cannot get near as many people in as a cafe, restaurant or pub in Western Australia.
“It’s absolutely not even comparable how much freer and how much [more] open our economy is than any of the … other states.”
The Premier continued: “Our very low rates of infection and our hard borders have allowed us to open up the economy far more than any other state and I think we are very lucky to be in this position.”
But Federal government wants the borders open
But Mathias Cormann, the Federal Finance Minister who was at the same event as the WA Premier, emphasised that the national government felt WA should reopen its interstate border.
“We don’t believe that there is a case for those borders to remain. That is the medical advice for us nationally,” Cormann said. “You don’t see that there is any issue in New South Wales as a result of localised outbreaks in Victoria.”
Opposition wants a selective travel bubble
WA opposition leader Liza Harvey disagreed with Cormann. She said she didn’t want Victorians travelling to WA until community transmission was eliminated.
But Harvey did reiterate a previous call for a ‘travel bubble’ between WA, Northern Territory and South Australia. None of these has community spread of coronavirus.
Last week South Australia introduced its own travel bubble, which opened SA up to WA, Tasmania and the NT. But residents of the eastern states must still undergo a quarantine period.