The Federal Government has agreed to the State Government’s request to remove the Commonwealth Biosecurity restrictions, meaning the Kimberley, Shire of Ngaanyatjarraku and parts of the East Pilbara will reopen to all Western Australians tomorrow.
As announced last week, the State Government earmarked these areas would be opened up, if agreed to by the Federal Government.
From Friday, June 5 (11.59pm Thursday, June 5) the biosecurity areas declared under the Commonwealth Biosecurity Act 2015 will be removed, however access to remote communities will remain restricted under the State Government’s Emergency Management Act.
The restrictions were put in place on the March 26, 2020 to help protect WA’s 274 remote Aboriginal communities from the coronavirus.
The State Government applied to lift the biosecurity restrictions, with no active cases of the virus in regional areas and no positive cases of COVID-19 reported in remote communities.
Western Australians must continue to practice physical distancing and good personal hygiene at all times. This includes washing your hands thoroughly, and regularly, throughout the day.
As stated by Premier Mark McGowan:
“Removing regional travel restrictions in WA, including the restrictions in the Kimberley, has been part of a staged and carefully planned roadmap for Western Australia.
“I want to thank the Kimberley community for their patience and understanding throughout this process, it’s been extremely difficult for many people and many small businesses.
“I encourage Western Australians to now enjoy all of what our great State has to offer, and support local and regional businesses in the process.
“This is another significant step in our roadmap to recovery. Phase 3 of our roadmap will come into effect this Saturday, allowing even greater opportunities for people to get out and about.”
As stated by Health Minister Roger Cook:
“WA is continuing to lead the way on easing restrictions, but we cannot become complacent.
“People must continue to maintain good hygiene and physical distancing for as long as it is necessary.
“Our regional travel restrictions have been an important measure in helping limit the spread of COVID-19 – it’s been effective and resulted in low infection rates in regional WA.
“We will continue to listen to the best of health advice that is unique for our State.”
As stated by Aboriginal Affairs Minister Ben Wyatt:
“I’d like to thank the Aboriginal leaders in these areas for their collaboration and outstanding work to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 in their communities.
“Aboriginal people, especially those living remotely, have a higher risk of getting sick from the coronavirus than other Western Australians.
“All Western Australians are urged to be aware of the high vulnerability of remote communities and to follow the restrictions to help keep them safe.
“The State Government is continuing to engage with Aboriginal leaders on the future of the travel restrictions into remote communities and additional ways to keep remote communities free from COVID-19.
“These strategies include the development of community-level pandemic response plans; continued health, safety and hygiene awareness for tourists, travellers and community residents; and regional-based testing and contact tracing.”