- An additional $1.6 billion has been committed to pandemic response and recovery initiatives as part of the 2022-23 State Budget
- This brings the total response to more than $11.2 billion since the pandemic began
- WA's safe handling of the pandemic secured a strong economic and financial position
- WA is the only State that has delivered free Rapid Antigen Tests (RATs) to households
The McGowan Labor Government has committed an additional $1.6 billion for the State's COVID-19 response and recovery as part of the upcoming State Budget, with a suite of measures and initiatives to continue funding Western Australia's world-leading pandemic response.
Since the pandemic was declared in March 2020, the McGowan Government has committed more than $11.2 billion to WA's pandemic response and as a result, WA continues to deliver the best public health and economic outcomes in the world.
The almost $1.6 billion in additional support provided in the 2022-23 State Budget comprises of:
- $635 million to secure Rapid Antigen Tests (RATs) and run the WA Free RAT Program;
- $537 million in health services including for COVID-19 testing and monitoring, medical equipment, contact tracing, hotel quarantine and the vaccination roll out;
- $237 million to support businesses including small business grants and industry assistance and relief;
- $61 million towards State Emergency Management Response initiatives through police, including border controls, cleaning, personal protective equipment and the operation of the 13 COVID hotline;
- $42.5 million towards school COVID-19 measures - implementing ventilation strategies, enhanced school cleaning, administrative and contact tracing support, masks, and distribution of RATs; and
- $28 million towards the continuation and operation of pandemic communications and information response, and preparedness initiatives.
As part of a national agreement, some elements of the public health measures will receive a 50 per cent contribution from the Commonwealth Government.
The COVID-19 response to date includes $237 million worth of business assistance packages made available in recent months, with almost $1.7 billion committed to businesses assistance since the beginning of the pandemic.
Other measures included in the $11.2 billion investment for COVID‑19 support and the pandemic response include:
- more than $2.1 billion to support the State's economic recovery, including industry development initiatives, the Social Housing Economic Recovery Package, tourism investments, the $195 million Reconnect WA package, the Regional Land Booster package, cutting training and TAFE fees, and other WA Recovery Plan initiatives;
- almost $1.6 billion in infrastructure investment such as the Building Schools for the Future initiative, transport infrastructure, rebuilding TAFEs, a sporting facilities package, and other community and public sector infrastructure;
- about $930 million in measures to support health and mental health systems, enhanced cleaning at schools and on public transport;
- about $3.3 billion towards frontline services in health, police and other support; and
- $400 million in other response and preparedness initiatives.
Comments attributed to Premier Mark McGowan:
"Western Australians have been fantastic throughout the pandemic and they overwhelmingly supported the approach of following the health advice, which has given us the best results in the world.
"Our safe management throughout the pandemic has meant WA has avoided the worst of restrictions seen around the country.
"WA's COVID experience has been unique and we owe our success to our safe management of COVID-19, which has enabled Western Australians to live largely free of restrictions, which is in stark contrast to the experience of the Eastern States in the past two years.
"Despite the global pandemic not being over, WA secured a soft landing as planned by putting the health and safety of the community first with responsible border policies and achieving world-leading vaccination rates, allowing WA to transition safely and saving lives and jobs.
"My Government's investment of this additional $1.6 billion brings our total investment in WA's COVID-19 response and management throughout the pandemic to more than $11.2 billion.
"We are the only State that has delivered free Rapid Antigen Tests to households, helping prevent further transmission and reducing the disruption to our economy and our daily lives.
"Our safe and cautious handling of the pandemic has kept businesses in operation, people in jobs and as the engine room of the Australian economy - we kept the nation going at the height of the pandemic."
Comments attributed to Health Minister Amber-Jade Sanderson:
"WA's world-leading COVID-19 response has put us in a unique position whereby we have some of the highest vaccination rates of any jurisdiction. This has kept people safe, reduced illness, hospitalisations, ICU admittances and deaths.
"By following the health advice, Western Australia has avoided the worst impacts of the pandemic over the past two years, which has crippled economies and businesses around the world.
"Our approach has meant we avoided the more severe and sustained restrictions seen elsewhere - like working from home mandates and the four square metre rule.
"The State Government will invest an additional $537 million in the 2022‑23 State Budget for WA Health to continue managing COVID‑19, including testing, medical equipment and the vaccine roll out.
"WA's low hospitalisation rate is a direct result of our vaccination policies and our continued commitment to following the public health advice."
Premier's office - 6552 5000
Health Minister's office - 6552 5900