Western Australia’s remaining regional travel boundaries will be reduced further, as part of the State Government’s gradual and safe easing of COVID-19 restrictions.
From this Friday, May 29 (or 11.59pm on Thursday, May 28), the regional boundaries will be lifted except for regions that are bound by the Commonwealth’s designated biosecurity determination and 274 remote Aboriginal communities.
The decision comes seven days after restrictions were eased as part of Phase 2 of the WA roadmap, which saw internal borders within Western Australia reduce from 13 to only four.
Chief Health Officer Dr Andrew Robertson is satisfied that after seven days of no outbreaks during Phase 2, and with WA’s hard border with the east in place, regional boundaries could be reduced further for the upcoming WA Day long weekend.
The WA Police Commissioner and the State Government are working with the Federal Government to remove the Commonwealth designated biosecurity areas from Friday, June 5 – around two weeks earlier than the anticipated deadline set by the Federal Government.
This means until then, people will need an exemption to enter the Kimberley region, parts of the East Pilbara and the Shire of Ngaanyatjarraku.
Consultation will continue with WA’s remote communities to ensure they are provided with ongoing support after June 5. Existing Directions under the State Government’s Emergency Management Act that restrict entry into these communities will remain in place pending further consultation.
Monitoring of Phase 2 will continue over coming days before other restrictions are eased in Phase 3, which will be introduced as soon as possible.
As stated by Premier Mark McGowan:
“Western Australia’s success in curbing the spread of COVID-19 has been world-leading.
“I would like to thank everyone for their patience and understanding, and I urge everyone who can travel to get out there, wander around WA and support local businesses.
“Our local businesses and tourism operators need our support the most now.
“This pandemic is having a significant impact on our local economy, that’s why we have moved to ease restrictions as soon as it has been safe to do so.
“If we continue to record low case numbers, I look forward to finalising Phase 3 of the WA roadmap and significantly ease restrictions further across our State.
“Based on health advice, Western Australia’s hard border with the rest of the country will remain in place, and will likely be the final restriction lifted.”
As stated by Health Minister Roger Cook:
“Getting to this part of our journey has required detailed consultation with our Chief Health Officer, Police Commissioner and health authorities.
“We will continue to listen to the best of health advice that is unique for our State.
“Our regional travel restrictions have been an important measure in helping limit the spread of COVID-19 – it’s worked and resulted in low numbers of cases in regional WA.
“We need a little more time before the Commonwealth biosecurity zones can be lifted, as COVID-19 poses a greater health risk to residents of remote Aboriginal communities.
“We expect this to be finalised shortly with the Federal Government, and thank everyone in those areas, including Broome, for their co-operation. We hope this will provide certainty for those residents and businesses going forward.”