Western Australia’s plan to relax its border restrictions this month is set to benefit Queenslanders in particular, with an estimated 60 per cent of interstate fly-in, fly-out (FIFO) workers in the west hailing from the Sunshine State.
The eased border restrictions will come into effect from November 14, enabling interstate travel to and from Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania, Northern Territory and the ACT without quarantining.
Interstate arrivals will, however, be screened and have their temperature taken at Perth Airport as they arrive and must be prepared to submit to COVID-19 testing.
The CME welcomed the announcement, stating it would enable interstate FIFO workers to return home after spending several months in Western Australia away from their homes.
“With no community transmission of COVID-19 in Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania, Northern Territory and the ACT, we support the Premier’s decision to open WA’s borders to those states and territories,” CME chief executive Paul Everingham said.
“I’d like to thank our interstate FIFO workers, who have done it tough over the past seven-to-eight months. We have been working with both levels of government to explore ways these workers can safely return home and then come back to WA to resume their work. We’re delighted this will be possible in time for Christmas and the holiday break.”
Much of the country’s FIFO workforce also comes from New South Wales and Victoria, which have been excluded from the recent Western Australia border relaxations.
The Western Australian Government will only allow travellers to bypass quarantine from ‘very low risk’ states, while Victoria and New South Wales are deemed ‘low risk’ and require travellers to self quarantine for 14 days and present for a COVID-19 test on the 11th day of quarantine.
Western Australia Premier Mark McGowan said this marked a step out of its hard borer closure into a controlled border.
“All through this pandemic we have been guided by our health advice, and it has served us well as we have embarked on our own unique recovery, best suited to Western Australia,” McGowan said.
“Based on the health advice, we are now at the next step of our journey to safely and sensibly transition from our hard border to a new controlled interstate border.
“For more than seven months Western Australia has been isolated from the rest of the country, as we protected our community from COVID-19 and emerged from our own restrictions safely, inside our island within an island.
“The virus has not been defeated around the world, therefore we must work together to prevent a serious outbreak and not jeopardise the hard work of each and every Western Australian.
“We also must take a cautious approach to our international border and not rush to opening to other countries, this is something I continue to raise with the Commonwealth Government.”