- Omnibus Bill introduced in Parliament today to keep WA safe and strong
- Bill will seek six-month timeframe extension for COVID-19 legislative amendments
- Legislative framework has helped keep WA safe and strong and protected frontline workers during COVID-19 pandemic
An omnibus Bill has been introduced into the State Parliament today seeking to extend the timeframe for the COVID-19 legislative amendments that have helped Western Australia successfully manage the global pandemic and better protect Western Australians.
The COVID-19 Response Legislation Amendment (Extension of Expiring Provisions) Bill 2020 will also ensure that the amendments made to protect and support our emergency and frontline workers will remain in place for longer, providing much-needed certainty.
The Bill amends the Emergency Management Amendment (COVID-19 Response) Act 2020 and the Criminal Code Amendment (COVID-19 Response) Act 2020, which had appropriate 12-month sunset clauses from when they came into operation on April 3.
Those Amendment Acts introduced new clauses into the Emergency Management Act to give hazard management officers or authorised officers the necessary ability to direct a person or class of persons to take any action the officer considered reasonably necessary to prevent, control or abate risks associated with COVID-19.
The Acts also increased penalties for serious assaults and threats in the context of COVID-19 against public officers such as frontline workers or police.
These increased penalties of up to 10 years' jail reflect the seriousness of deliberately coughing or spitting on public officers who are trying to help keep the State safe.
These new amendments enabled WA to implement its border arrangements, put in place quarantining measures that stopped the spread of the virus, and allowed contact tracing and physical distancing measures in line with the health advice to better protect Western Australians.
The new Bill will seek to extend those necessary provisions for another six months from April 4, 2021 until October 4, 2021.
Comments attributed to Premier Mark McGowan:
"When these legislative amendments were put in place to protect our State from the COVID-19 pandemic, the State Government appropriately included sunset clauses which were expected to expire on April 4, 2021.
"These amendments gave our hazard management and authorised officers the necessary powers to help keep Western Australians safe from COVID-19 and they have worked extremely well.
"They are significant powers and the Parliament acted sensibly to ensure they were initially in place for 12 months, but it is now clear that they will be required further into next year so our State can continue to stay on top of COVID-19 and keep WA safe.
"With the State Election to occur in March, this extension provides much-needed certainty.
"This new Bill will extend those powers by another six months to October 4, 2021 providing the legislative safeguards that have proven to keep us safe and in control of the pandemic.
"Our police and emergency services agencies have used these new provisions carefully and in the best interests of us all."
Comments attributed to Emergency Services Minister Francis Logan:
"Western Australia has been under a rolling State of Emergency to protect us from the COVID-19 pandemic since March 15.
"Further to that declaration, significant powers were enacted through Parliament to give our frontline workers and hazard management officers the necessary ability and protections to manage COVID-19.
"These legislative frameworks meant we could address COVID-19 more quickly than many other jurisdictions around the world and return to a relatively normal life, which many other parts of Australia still do not enjoy.
"This Bill extends that legislative framework by another six months so we can continue to carefully transition our State into the next stage of managing the COVID-19 pandemic."
Premier's office - 6552 5000
Emergency Services Minister's office - 6552 6300