Two Perth men issued infringements for failing to wear masks on planes

This is a joint media release between the Australian Federal Police and Western Australia Police

Two Perth men have each been issued a $1000 infringement this week for allegedly failing to wear masks on recent flights.

Australian Federal Police allege a 47-year-old from Aubin Grove refused to wear a mask during a flight from Leonora on 8 September (2021), while a 29-year-old Ashfield man allegedly ignored the health requirements on a flight from Port Hedland to Perth last month (August).

Both men allegedly refused requests from flight attendants to wear their masks correctly so were met by AFP officers when the flights landed at Perth Airport.

AFP Aviation Detective Superintendent Peter Chwal said the AFP and WA Police Force policy for these incidents is compliance through education.

“Officers will first ask a person if they have an exemption to not comply with the Emergency Management Act 2005 (WA) and if they don’t, we will explain the lawful requirements and supply a mask for their use.

“If they then refuse directions to wear a mask, the natural consequence of that refusal is to take steps to issue an infringement.”

Detective Superintendent Chwal said it was a timely reminder for the public that health directives apply to flights, airports and the surrounding area.

“Most members of the community are doing the right thing and complying with the regulations, which are aimed at keeping us all safe. We do not want complacency to creep in because of the lack of COVID cases in WA.”

Western Australia Police Force Superintendent Cam Western said WA Police Officers working at the airports will offer masks to people and check the validity of claimed exemptions.

“It is our duty to enforce the Directions and we try to work with people,” he said. “Unfortunately, when people do not have a valid exemption and will not comply with lawful requirements we are forced to take action, which can lead to an infringement, summons or arrest dependent upon the circumstances.”

Members of the public are urged to report incidents of non-compliance directly to police.

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