Review into COVID-19 management vital for future learnings

The Opposition has welcomed the announcement of a review into WA’s COVID-19 management. Opposition Leader Mia Davies said the review must be open and transparent to provide greater insight into decisions made and learnings from the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The Opposition has been calling for a full review of the Government’s management of COVID-19 for more than a year so we are pleased they have finally conceded it is necessary,” Ms Davies said.

“Since COVID-19 entered our community in 2020, we saw unprecedented action taken by the Premier and the Labor Government on the basis of health advice.

“The Opposition called for a review into COVID-19 more than a year ago following the lead of other States and Territories who established parliamentary inquiries, Royal Commissions and other independent assessments.

“Today, we welcome the announcement of the review and look forward to knowing what the Terms of Reference are and how the community and experts can engage.”

Shadow Emergency Services Minister Martin Aldridge said the G2G system that saw almost 160,000 people prevented from entering Western Australia without any right to appeal must be a focus of the review.

“Many West Australians faced difficult and tragic circumstances when trying to enter their home State, due to an uncompromising G2G system and hard border restrictions imposed by the McGowan Labor Government,” Mr Aldridge said.

“There was no appeals process for applications and little information was provided when an application was rejected, despite repeated calls from the Opposition.

“Last year, I called for an independent review into the G2G system to aid future development of similar systems, and I urge the Government to ensure it’s included in this upcoming review.”

Mr Aldridge said the Emergency Management Amendment (Temporary COVID-19 Provisions) Bill 2022, which was rushed through Parliament late last year, also needed to be investigated.

“This legislation contains fewer safeguards than the State of Emergency powers which WA operated under for two years,” Mr Aldridge said.

“I will be looking to see if the independent panel determines whether these laws were even necessary given they have not yet even been utilised.”

Mr Aldridge said the mass order of Rapid Antigen Tests, which cost taxpayers $600 million and was placed with “no methodology”, also needed to be reviewed.

“Questions asked in Budget Estimates last year revealed there was no method to the rushed procurement of more than 110 million RATs by the McGowan Labor Government.

“WA was clearly late to the party when it came to ordering RATs, whilst neglecting other aspects of our public health response, such as building capacity in our hospitals and ambulance service.”