Labor must accept responsibility for lockdown pain

Apr 29, 2021 | State News, WA Labor

On the first day of the 41st Parliament the Opposition called on the Labor Government to admit they ignored expert advice and forced millions of West Australians into a costly and avoidable lockdown on
the Anzac long weekend.

Opposition Leader Mia Davies took aim at the Government’s constant deflections and “passing the buck” mentality.

“More than 24 hours before the Premier plunged WA into an expensive and wholly preventable lockdown, the Premier, Health Minister and Acting Chief Health Officer all admitted to vulnerabilities at
the Mercure Hotel,” Ms Davies said.

“The Labor Government had been warned of the risks in our hotel quarantine system well in advance of the second Peth and Peel lockdown over Anzac Day.

Ms Davies said the Premier should accept his State Government had responsibility for hotel quarantine.

“It wasn’t the Commonwealth who ignored the expert health advice in relation to the Mercure Hotel, it was the State Labor Government.

“There can be no doubt the Labor Government is responsible for the outbreak that put lives at risk and sent WA into lockdown, costing our business sector millions of dollars.”

Ms Davies said the Glossop Report confirmed the Government had been aware of the risks in the hotel quarantine system for months but failed to act on expert advice and move guests in adjoining rooms
away from COVID infected patients.

“The Government is knowingly placing returning travellers in an environment where they are at high-risk of contracting COVID-19. To keep using high-risk hotels for another month is an unnecessary risk.”

The Opposition has backed called from the Australian Hotel Association (WA) and small business operators for the Government to provide compensation for businesses impacted by the lockdown.

Leader of the Liberal Party Dr David Honey said the Opposition would continue to fight for compensation for the small business sector.

“The impacts of the lockdown and the subsequent restrictions have cost our business sector in the vicinity of $200 million,” Dr Honey said.

“That lost revenue comes directly from the pockets of small business owners, their employees, and their families, leaving thousands of West Australians in financial difficulty while still having to manage ongoing
bills and payments.

“The Government have been using lockdowns as a way to control COVID outbreaks for more than a year. By now, there should be a standard compensation package for businesses so that they can better
manage the financial impact.”