The Opposition has welcomed the further easing of COVID-19 restrictions announced today and called on the Government to outline how long the remaining restrictions will be in place.
Opposition Leader Mia Davies said the National-Liberal Alliance had been consistently calling for clarity from the Government on rules and restrictions and the continuing State of Emergency.
“The Opposition welcomes the State Government’s announcement to remove restrictions, but want to know what the plan is for transitioning from the state of emergency conditions we are living under,” Ms Davies said.
“We have some of the highest vaccination rates in the nation and our hospitalisation rates and ICU numbers have been consistently lower than predicted.”
Ms Davies said the eased restrictions signified a shift in how the State Government should deal with COVID-19.
“While the Opposition welcomes the announcements it’s time for the State Government to provide answers around when they will call an end to the State of Emergency,” Ms Davies said.
“With free RATs being made available to people who arrive in WA as part of the McGowan Government’s latest announcement, dropping the G2G pass will also ease the burden of travellers coming into WA.”
She said with restrictions easing and the cloud of COVID lifting the time was long overdue for Government to address the issues plaguing the under-resourced health and hospital system, chronic housing shortages and a skill shortage impacting nearly every sector in the State.
“It’s hard to attract and retain critical workers and encourage visitors to our State when we’re still living under a state of emergency,” she said.
WA Liberal Leader, Dr David Honey MLA, said the restrictions are a critical first step in returning to normalcy but there is more work to be done.
“We have been calling for these restrictions to be reviewed and lifted for some time now as have businesses, especially those in the hospitality and events industries,” Dr Honey said.
“I welcome the easing of these COVID restrictions, given our hospitalisation are well-below the predicated 400 hospitalisation peak.
“Given the changes announced today, the Government must urgently work with the RSL to see if it is possible to reduce the current 500-person restrictions on the ANZAC Day Dawn Service at Kings Park.
“The Government also needs to determine if the RSL needs any financial assistance to make this happen.”
Dr Honey said the Premier needs to go further and review the more impactful COVID-19 restrictions that still remain.
“What we need to see from the Labor Government is a date for the end of the mask mandate and to review both the two square metre rule for businesses and proof of vaccination requirements,” said Dr Honey.
“The redefinition of a close contact will give both patrons and staff the ability to better operate and prevent mass staff shortages that many venues have suffered from.
“While the 500-person capacity limit will certainly help larger hospitality venues, it will do little to help a majority of businesses that just don’t have the space and will still be limited to how many patrons they can have due to the two square meter rule.
“What we really need to see that will truly benefit businesses is for the two square meter rule to be scrapped.
“We would also like to see the requirement for proof of vaccination to be reviewed, given the very high first, second and rising third dose vaccination levels of Western Australians.
“Putting the burden on businesses to, in many cases, divert staff from normal activities in order to check vaccination proof inhibits the everyday operation of fast-paced venues like the hospitality and events industries