New emergency management powers to combat COVID-19

  • Emergency Management Amendment (COVID-19 Response) Bill 2020 passes through both houses of State Parliament
  • New laws significantly strengthen WA’s response to the COVID-19 crisis
  • Tougher penalties including $1,000 on-the-spot fines and tougher penalties will soon become law
  • New laws to help enforce self-isolation and increase penalties for COVID-19 related incidents have passed through both houses of State Parliament today.

    The McGowan Government drafted and expedited these amendments to better protect Western Australians during this COVID-19 pandemic.

    Authorised officers will be able to issue directions necessary to impose self-isolation and social distancing requirements.

    The new law will enable authorities to issue $1,000 on-the-spot fines for individuals and $5,000 fines for businesses to act as a further deterrent against those in the community who simply do not follow new directions.

    The new laws will allow for a person to be subject to electronic monitoring while they are in self-isolation. Appropriate electronic monitoring devices will be determined for each situation.

    Enforcement has been further strengthened with the introduction of a penalty of 12 months’ imprisonment or a fine of $12,000 for people who do not comply with electronic monitoring requirements.

    Additional general changes include powers to compel people to provide information about any recent travel undertaken by them and information about people they have been in close contact with in light of COVID-19.    

    Amendments to the law also enable for emergency management authorities to direct that any road, access route or areas of water in or leading to an emergency area be closed.

    These powers under the current State of Emergency will cease 12 months after their commencement.

    As stated by Premier Mark McGowan:

    “Make no mistake these are extraordinary and unprecedented circumstances. 

    “Breaches of social distancing can put the whole community at risk so we have had expedite changes to the law to provide our authorised officers with the powers to better manage these situations.

    “Anyone who is directed to self-isolate, and fails to comply, will face severe penalties under these new laws.

    “Bolstering these laws are integral to ensuring the health and safety of our community and will allow our emergency management authorities to help us through this COVID-19 crisis.

    “I’m pleased these amendments have progressed swiftly through State Parliament and will soon become law.”

    As stated by Emergency Services Minister Francis Logan:

    “It is essential that we strengthen our State’s ability to respond to this current emergency and these measures have not been introduced lightly.

    “We carefully considered these new laws and we have struck the right balance of ensuring fairness but also given our emergency services and law enforcement officers the powers they need to keep us all safe during these unprecedented times.

    “I hope that we will not have to use them and that people will do the right thing, but if not, please be warned that these powers now exist.”

    As stated by Police Minister Michelle Roberts:

    “Social distancing and self-isolation is our community’s best weapon against this virus.

    “We are giving our police these powers because we want to make it absolutely clear that our community cannot afford to tolerate breaches of measures put in place to protect us.

    “If you are tempted to get together with your pals, I want you to spare a thought for those who you may unwittingly convey this virus to.

    “Elderly family members, children, people battling other illnesses with a reduced immune system.

    “It’s about the health of all of us, so please do the right thing.”

    Premier’s office – 6552 5000

    /Public Release. The material in this public release comes from the originating organization and may be of a point-in-time nature, edited for clarity, style and length. View in full here.