Hon Mark McGowan BA LLB MLA

Hon Mark McGowan BA LLB MLA

Premier; Treasurer; Minister for Public Sector Management; Federal-State Relations

Hon Stephen Dawson MLC

Hon Stephen Dawson MLC

Minister for Emergency Services; Innovation and ICT; Medical Research; Volunteering

    Bill introduced to provide certainty on COVID-19 response measures

    10/05/2022 10:55 AM
     
    • The Bill seeks to provide six-month certainty for COVID-19 legislative amendments
    • Legislation does not extend the State of Emergency, which is renewed fortnightly under the existing Emergency Management Act 2005
    • Enables State Government to continue to effectively respond and deal with the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, as is necessary, on health advice

    COVID-19 response measures will be given certainty through a Bill introduced into State Parliament, under the Emergency Management Act.

     

    Under these COVID-19 provisions, the McGowan Government has kept Western Australia safe and strong during its world-leading response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

     

    The Legislation will only remain in effect while in a State of Emergency, and falls away when a State of Emergency is not enacted.

     

    This Bill will ensure the Emergency Management Amendment (COVID-19 Response) Act 2020 and the Criminal Code Amendment (COVID-19 Response) Act 2020 can continue to be in place as required, as they have been vital in the State's successful management of the COVID-19 pandemic.

     

    Under Section 72A of the Emergency Management Act, it makes provisions for a number of directions to be used to manage the pandemic. Some of these directions include:

    • seven day isolation requirements for COVID-19 positive cases;
    • use of face masks for close contacts;
    • measures ensuring cruise ships are managed against strict protocols;
    • restriction of movements in and out of Aboriginal communities - a vulnerable cohort in the COVID-19 pandemic; and
    • use of face masks in specific settings including hospitals, aged care and disability facilities, and other passenger transport settings.
    • The Bill provides better protections for WA Police officers, and also ensures increased penalties for serious assaults and threats against frontline officers and healthcare workers who play a significant part in keeping Western Australians safe, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.

    The penalties of up to 10 years in jail reflect the seriousness of deliberately coughing or spitting on public officers who are trying to help keep the State safe.

     

    The new Bill will provide certainty for those necessary provisions to be utilised as necessary and based on health advice, until January 3, 2023. It does not mean the State of Emergency will remain in place until that time, as it may end earlier.

     

    Comments attributed to Premier Mark McGowan:

                   

    "Our response to the COVID-19 pandemic has been world-leading - because of our nation leading third dose vaccination rate, and the measures my Government has put in place to protect all Western Australians.

     

    "New COVID-19 cases will continue to emerge in the community throughout this pandemic, however hospitalisations and intensive care admittances are still under what was anticipated and can be safely managed.

     

    "We need to ensure appropriate avenues are available for the State Government to continue to keep Western Australia safe and strong.

     

    "Having this legislation gives the State a framework to manage important measures including the requirement for mask mandates in vulnerable settings such as hospitals and aged care, and also ensures we can keep a ban on larger cruise ships and restrict access to remote Aboriginal Communities for the time being.

     

     "This emergency management framework has been vital to Western Australia's successful management of the pandemic."

     

    Comments attributed to Emergency Services Minister Stephen Dawson:

     

    "Western Australia's response to the COVID-19 pandemic has been the envy of many States and countries, and these emergency management measures are proven to keep Western Australians safe.

     

    "The COVID-19 pandemic has been an extraordinary time in our history and extension of these measures is not a matter taken lightly by the State Government.

     

    "We've seen time and time again, how the COVID-19 pandemic can change at any moment and it's vital that the State Government has measures in place to ensure it can continue to protect the health and wellbeing of all Western Australians."

     

    Minister's office - 6552 5800