Liberal Party leader Liza Harvey says today’s six COVID-19 cases from an international livestock ship at Fremantle Port shouldn’t be used as an excuse to keep WA’s hard borders intact, which would lead to more financial devastation for the State’s tourism and hospitality industries.
“We need to learn to live with COVID-19. There are going to be similar outbreaks in the future until there is a vaccine,” Ms Harvey said.
“The West Australians who went on to that ship have been identified, traced and quarantined. None of the crew got off the ship and moved around the WA community.
“It shows the system is working well. The WA health system is well-equipped to handle outbreaks like this.
“Mr McGowan revealed this afternoon that there have been hundreds of international ships that have arrived in WA ports since the COVID-19 crisis began.
“It means the WA community can feel safe that there is still no community spread of the virus in WA.
“Vigilance and quarantine will remain our strongest weapons in the fight against COVID-19 until a vaccine is found.”
Ms Harvey said the Premier can’t keep WA locked down forever.
“If we keep the borders closed, more WA businesses in the tourism and hospitality sector will be destroyed,” she said.
“Our hospitality and tourism industries are on their knees.
“The Premier keeps saying he is acting on medical advice keeping WA’s interstate borders up, but that advice is completely at odds with the medical advice from the Federal Government.
“Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt said yesterday that there has been no medical expert panels at Commonwealth level in favour of state border closures.
“Just because we had this outbreak today doesn’t mean we can’t open up the borders to South Australia and the Northern Territory to get more people back to work. South Australia hasn’t had any new cases of COVID-19 reported for 18 days. And it’s been 23 days for the Northern Territory.
“Outbreaks like this can be kept under control. And there will be more in the future until a vaccine is found.
“We need to get more West Australians back to work. We have a jobs crisis now. “62,000 WA people lost their jobs last month and 200,000 are now underemployed.
“I’m glad Mr McGowan backed down on the majority of the intrastate borders with the WA Day long weekend coming up. But he didn’t go far enough.
“I agree with the Australian Hotels Association, which is calling for hotels and restaurants to be allowed to have a maximum of 100 customers at a time.
“There is no community spread of COVID-19 in WA. The Premier should back down again and lift the limits to 100 in time for the long weekend.
“Tourism Council WA and the AHA are saying that it’s just not viable for a lot of businesses to open up.
“South Australia is lifting its number to 80 customers on Monday, it will be 50 in New South Wales, but we are stuck on 20.
“The Premier is playing politics and destroying people’s livelihoods. Where is the Labor Government’s jobs policy when our hospitality and tourism industries are being decimated.”