Australia

WA Premier Mark McGowan again defends hard border

The WA Premier has once again defended his state’s hard border, after Tasmania announced it would open to low risk jurisdictions. Mark McGowan said he understood family dislocation “as much as anyone” with his elderly parents and brother living in NSW.However, he said the state’s hard borders were what kept West Australians safe and living…

The WA Premier has once again defended his state’s hard border, after Tasmania announced it would open to low risk jurisdictions.

Mark McGowan said he understood family dislocation “as much as anyone” with his elderly parents and brother living in NSW.

However, he said the state’s hard borders were what kept West Australians safe and living a normal life.

“Our approach has been very careful in dealing with COVID. As a as result of our carefulness, we’ve had an economic boom in WA,” Mr McGowan said.

“We’re the only state that didn’t go into a recession. Victoria and NSW are going backwards in their jobs growth and we have the strongest growth in eight years.

“In Victoria, they have lockdowns everywhere. In NSW, they have the 4 sqm rule and all sorts of restrictions. (SA) is today celebrating they can stand up and have a drink like that’s some kind of achievement.

“We’ve been able to do all those things and more for months.

“I’m comfortable we adopted a cautious approach, which has kept the health outcomes good and the economic outcomes outstanding in WA.”

He said borders would “come down eventually” but the state would remain cautious and careful in how that would be done.

“If we rushed it the way people wanted us to, the virus would have come back.

“The other states still have all sorts of restrictions … on dancing, weddings and funerals and pubs and bars and gatherings.

“We don’t have any of that so we have created within WA the strongest economy in the nation and are one of the freest societies in the world.”

The state has been without community transmission for more than 175 days and recorded no new infections on Friday.

Earlier, Tasmanian Premier Peter Gutwein announced the island state would open its borders to “low risk” jurisdictions, which included WA.

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Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak

Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a respiratory illness that can spread from person to person. The virus that causes COVID-19 is a novel coronavirus.