- The Bill will provide a new framework to manage COVID-19
- Temporary laws to move away from the use of the State of Emergency declaration
- A 'Temporary COVID-19 Declaration' will maintain important public health and social measures that have kept Western Australia safe
- New legal framework will allow for the continuation of health measures such as mask wearing and isolation requirements without a State of Emergency declaration
- New framework is a more appropriate legislative setting which reflects WA's current environment and will not allow for the closure of State borders
The McGowan Government has today provided notice that it will introduce a Bill into State Parliament to amend the Emergency Management Act 2005 to allow for the ongoing management of COVID-19 beyond a State of Emergency.
The Bill will enable the State Emergency Coordinator to make a temporary 'COVID-19 declaration' to continue managing the pandemic with sensible measures such as mask wearing and isolation requirements.
The new framework is fit for purpose and allows for the COVID-19 measures that have kept Western Australia safe and strong during its world-leading response to the pandemic.
A 'Temporary COVID-19 Declaration' can only be made if the State Emergency Coordinator is satisfied that COVID-19 poses a risk to the safety of the community, such that it requires a co-ordinated response to prevent loss of life or harm to the health of the community.
Under the new legislation, which will automatically expire in two years' time, a 'Temporary COVID-19 Declaration' can be made for three-month periods at a time. This framework will replace the current system where State of Emergency declarations must be renewed every two weeks to continue.
Unlike a State of Emergency declaration, a 'Temporary COVID-19 Declaration' will not allow for the closure of State borders or require an application to enter Western Australia from any other State or Territory.
Comments attributed to Premier Mark McGowan:
"Our management of this once-in-a-hundred-year pandemic has saved lives, reduced hospitalisations and protected our strong economy.
"All Western Australians have done a tremendous job and followed the necessary directions and public health measures to protect themselves and their community.
"The State of Emergency has served its purpose and was key to our unique world-leading response and management of the pandemic.
"With high vaccination rates and low case numbers, now is the right time to plan for COVID-19 management beyond the State of Emergency.
"This new framework is a sensible approach to keep Western Australians safe and while we hope that we've passed the worst of COVID-19, our measures have proved to work and should they need to be reintroduced in future if the situation were to escalate then we'll do so on health advice."
Comments attributed to Emergency Services Minister Stephen Dawson:
"The COVID-19 pandemic has been an extraordinary time in our history.
"In Western Australia, we have avoided the worst of the restrictions and rolling lockdowns seen in other States and countries, thanks to our world-leading COVID-19 response.
"A key factor in this successful management of the pandemic has been our ability to put the right measures in place to protect the community.
"We know how unpredictable this pandemic can be, which is why it's important we prepare for life beyond the State of Emergency and plan for the longer-term management of COVID-19.
"By introducing this Bill, we are putting ourselves in the best position to support our State and continue keeping our community safe for the years ahead."
Premier's office - 6552 5200
Emergency Services Minister's office - 6552 5800