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Police squad to enforce COVID-19 restrictions3370Department of the Premier and Cabinet, Media Statementshtml29/03/2020 12:10:35 AM2020-03-28T22:15:00Z 200-strong enforcement squad to patrol streets and ensure compliance with COVID-19 restrictions Urgent legislation for $1,000 on-the-spot fines to be introduced into Parliament Fines to be issued immediately for disobeying self-isolation and gathering directives New measures to help maintain community safety during State of Emergency An enforcement squad of more than 200 police officers will hit the streets immediately to ensure compliance with quarantine and gathering requirements and to maintain community safety during the State of Emergency. The dedicated squad will perform spot checks on those required to self-isolate and enforce bans on gatherings. The squad has been brought together by drawing on officers from a range of areas in the Force, along with 60 recruits who are due for graduation in two weeks but have been fast-tracked to join the frontline. It will also be bolstered by a team of detectives who will be tasked to track and trace any self-isolation cases whose whereabouts cannot be accounted for. The McGowan Government is also introducing legislation to bring in $1,000 on-the-spot fines for individuals and $5,000 fines for businesses who disobey the rules. The urgent legislation will be introduced into State Parliament as soon as next week. Penalties of up to $50,000 for individuals still apply under the Emergency Management Act, however, the on-the-spot fines will allow WA Police to issue fines immediately, without having to go through the courts. The WA Police Force have so far responded to more than 1,000 COVID-19 related tasks, including checks on those required to self-isolate. Comments attributed to Premier Mark McGowan "This is about saving lives and protecting the community. "People need to understand that this is serious. "If you have been directed to self-isolate, then you must self-isolate. There are no excuses. "The Government is throwing everything it has at this and we are doing so because that's the best way to safeguard the community. "I just urge people to do the right thing by your family, by your neighbours and by your fellow Western Australians." Comments attributed to Police Minister Michelle Roberts "It's regrettable that we are having to get police to babysit people, to enforce something as simple as self-isolation, but we have to do everything possible to keep our community safe. "Too many people are still flaunting the rules. "While our police and healthcare workers are working day and night to beat this thing, it's not too much to ask for people to stay home. "I'd like to thank our police for the incredible job they are doing on behalf of the community. "I know many are feeling stressed and worried right now, but that's all the more reason to treat one another, particularly those on the frontlines with kindness and courtesy." Comments attributed to Emergency Services Minister Francis Logan "A State of Emergency has not been declared lightly. "We must all work together to ensure that we keep each other safe and those that are not doing so are not only failing themselves, but their community. "It is disappointing that it has come to this, but if these measures save lives then it will be well worth it. "I would warn those people that are not taking this situation seriously, that there are more powers available to the State to impose further restrictions to make sure that they do. "I hope that they do not have to be used and instead we will start seeing a more responsible attitude in our community." Premier's office - 6552 5000 Police Minister's office - 6552 6900 Emergency Services Minister's office - 6552 6300
Changes to operations at WA TAFE colleges from Monday3369Department of the Premier and Cabinet, Media Statements40820html28/03/2020 7:49:51 AM2020-03-28T07:30:00Z TAFE colleges to develop a new delivery of training in response to COVID-19 From Monday, March 30 until April 9, there will be a temporary pause in face-to-face delivery of most courses Lecturers and non-teaching staff will prepare to move to a new style of training in Term 2 TAFE's role is critical in training people through the pandemic and to prepare for the recovery phase Western Australian TAFE colleges will develop a new delivery approach from Monday, March 30 to April 9, 2020 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. From Term 2, the blended style of delivery will include learning via online and interactive technologies, and face-to-face delivery where necessary and where adequate social distancing measures can be implemented. This style of delivery is the most appropriate for vocational education and training (VET). Courses that have been delivered exclusively online will continue to do so. From Monday (March 30) until the end of term on April 9, there will be a temporary pause in the face-to-face delivery of most courses. Face-to-face training in essential service courses such as enrolled nursing and aged care will continue. There will also be practical assessments for hospitality/cookery students and final stage apprentices who need to be assessed in a practical workshop. Arrangements for these courses will be modified to ensure safety. Colleges will stay open and essential student services including student resource areas will remain available with social distancing measures applying. Students are being emailed and/or sent a text message informing them how they will be affected by the changes. The new measures will allow lecturers and non-teaching staff to continue to prepare to move to the new style of training in Term 2 which starts on April 28, 2020. The new approach will ensure safety for students and staff as well as providing skills that will be needed during the pandemic and in the critical recovery time afterwards. TAFE colleges are also extending the use of online and interactive technologies to support study areas which have substantial practical components where appropriate. Metropolitan and regional TAFE colleges are collaborating to support online learning across the State. The colleges will work with employers to ensure that there is continued training for apprentices. VET provides training to help students develop practical skills which meet industry standards. Comments attributed to Education and Training Minister Sue Ellery "The new blended delivery model will be flexible, nimble and adaptable in training people for jobs that will be needed during the pandemic and for those jobs that will have a massive role in the recovery process. "The model will also provide safety and security for students and staff. "TAFE colleges are making every effort to support students and are working to ensure any changes to training delivery do not compromise the expected industry outcomes or the quality of training. "The McGowan Government is committed to rebuilding and reshaping Western Australia's economy, and vocational education and training will play a vital role in the creation of a diverse and skilled workforce." Minister's office - 6552 5700
New funding secures essential Rex air services for WA3349Department of the Premier and Cabinet, Media Statements17350html27/03/2020 8:33:31 AM2020-03-27T08:30:00Z Funding part of wider economic support measures being rolled out Saving flights from closure keeps regional communities connected, for essential travel Ensures workers, such as those in health and emergency sectors, can continue to provide vital services to regional areas The McGowan Government is providing up to $3 million in funding to secure Regional Express (Rex) services on the regional air routes of Albany, Esperance and Carnarvon-Monkey Mia. Securing regional aviation services is aimed at ensuring workers, such as those in health and emergency sectors, can continue to provide their vital services to regional areas. The State Government has been working hard with airlines, local governments and airport owners, to find ways to secure a level of air services across Western Australia's many regional communities. Many airlines, particularly smaller regional airlines such as Rex, are facing drastically reduced demand across their network due to the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, resulting in the need to reduce services and capacity across their networks. While there will be some disruptions to frequency and schedules for regional air services, the State Government is providing financial assistance towards maintaining essential air services provided by Rex in regional WA. Along with State funding, local governments and airport owners are also assisting by removing or reducing fees across many airports, which is helping make these services possible in extremely trying times. The below agreed service levels will start from April; for the full flight schedules please visit Rex's website http//www.rex.com.au/ Perth-Albany 4 return air services per week Perth-Esperance 4 return air services per week Perth-Carnarvon-Monkey Mia 2 return air services per weekThe State Government is also in discussions with Aviair about some of their regional services. For further information please visit https//www.transport.wa.gov.au/covid-19 Comments attributed to Transport Minister Rita Saffioti "Using the State's financial support, Rex will be able to provide critical air services for the regional communities of Albany, Esperance, Carnarvon and Monkey Mia. "We recognise the importance of maintaining essential community access during these difficult times, which is why $3 million in funding is being provided to ensure a level of air services on the Albany, Esperance and Carnarvon-Monkey Mia air routes continue under Rex. "In the current challenging times of COVID-19 there have, and will continue to be impacts on regional aviation in Western Australia. "The State Government is doing everything it can to ensure that a minimum service level continues on regional air routes so that movement of critical people such as health and emergency professionals, and essential freight such as blood supplies and medical equipment continues. "The State Government is working with all airlines and local governments to minimise further impact on essential air services across regional air routes for WA's many regional communities. "The funding of Rex services on WA air routes will be reviewed after three months, with the possibility of extension." Minister's office - 6552 5500
COVID-19 testing criteria expanded in WA3330Department of the Premier and Cabinet, Media Statements25830html27/03/2020 8:01:18 AM2020-03-27T07:55:00Z New testing criteria to cater for people in high-risk settings and geographically localised areas Emphasis on protecting vulnerable populations such as aged care and remote communities Expansion of criteria to assist in tracking individual cases and community transmissionAs of today, the testing criteria for COVID-19 will now be accessible for vulnerable groups of people in high-risk settings and will prioritise the testing of healthcare staff on the frontline. Testing in Western Australia will now be extended to the following groups High-risk settings, as determined by a Public Health Unit; Aged and residential care; Rural and remote Aboriginal communities; Detention centres; Correctional facilities; Boarding schools; Military barracks or equivalent; Geographically localised areas with increased risk of community transmission, as determined by a Public Health Unit; All cruise ship passengers, domestic and international, who have disembarked in the previous 14 days; Hospitalised patients with illness of unknown cause, at discretion of the clinician; and WA Police officers who are symptomatic.In addition to the expanded testing criteria, all health care staff will now be prioritised when being tested at COVID clinics across the State. This includes, but is not limited to, all clinical staff who have direct patient contact, such as hospital staff, general practitioners and clinic staff. Disability support workers, residential aged care workers and pharmacists are also eligible for this testing. It is part of a co-ordinated effort to protect the health and safety of our dedicated frontline staff and patients. Processes have been put in place to easily identify and prioritise healthcare worker specimens at all of the clinics currently operating in WA. There are now seven COVID clinics open across the metropolitan area and one regional clinic operating at Bunbury Health Campus. COVID-19 testing at clinics in WA is available to people with a fever or acute respiratory infection with proven international travel 14 days before the onset of illness or proven close contact with a confirmed COVID-19 case. People seeking testing in regional areas should go to a public hospital, health service or remote health clinic. WA has now had 255 cases of COVID-19, almost 12,000 people have tested negative to the virus. Members of the public can telephone the COVID-19 Health Information Line on 1800 020 080 for advice and find more information by visiting http//www.healthywa.wa.gov.au Comments attributed to Health Minister Roger Cook "The current testing regime in Western Australia reflects the latest advice on how best to respond to the increasing cases of COVID-19 and aligns with the national regime. "We are doing everything we can to ensure that testing is available to some of the more high-risk populations in Western Australian. Our absolute priority is ensuring that these people can receive the care that they need. "We also want to ensure our frontline healthcare staff are being looked after, which is why we have put processes in place make their tests a priority." Minister's office - 6552 6500
Radio Systems Replacement contract update3347Department of the Premier and Cabinet, Media Statements11860html28/03/2020 3:17:07 AM2020-03-27T07:40:00Z The PTA's Radio Systems Replacement project will no longer proceed with the current HUGL Consortium Trade restrictions imposed by the US Government create a force majeure event that cannot be overcome Public Transport Authority remains committed to delivering a Radio Systems Replacement project PTA now working with the HUGL Consortium towards an appropriate resolutionThe PTA's Radio Systems Replacement project will no longer proceed with the current HUGL Consortium. Trade restrictions imposed by the US Government on Huawei Australia have created a force majeure event under the contract, which the parties have been unable to overcome. However, a Radio Systems Replacement project, which involves converting the radio communications system for Perth's urban rail network from analogue to digital, will be delivered through a new arrangement. The Public Transport Authority started the procurement process for the Radio Systems Replacement project in May 2017 and awarded the contract to the HUGL Consortium (Huawei Australia and UGL) in July 2018. The HUGL Consortium had provided earlier assurances to the State Government that it could deliver the project in light of trade restrictions imposed by the US. Government, but further restrictions imposed in August 2019 had greater impact. The PTA and the HUGL Consortium have worked hard together to try to overcome this force majeure event. However, the State Government has decided that if the current relationship with the HUGL Consortium is maintained the measures required to try to overcome the force majeure event would result in unacceptable uncertainty around the total cost of the project, final completion time and no guarantee that the proposed solution would be effective. This decision will also ensure the State complies with US trade restrictions. The PTA and Huawei Australia have therefore mutually agreed to not continue the current arrangement. This decision has been taken before taking into account any additional disruption that may result from the COVID-19 issue. The PTA is now working with the HUGL Consortium towards the orderly transition to new arrangements to allow delivery of the project without breaching US trade restrictions. This could include a range of outcomes, from withdrawal of Huawei Australia from the contract to termination. This transition work will include exploring what subcontract arrangements can be preserved in the new project. While some delay in completion of the project is now inevitable, the State Government and the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) have continued to liaise on the availability of the spectrum licences. The original requirement for the PTA to vacate the analogue radio spectrum by May 2020 has since been extended to beyond 2021. Comments attributed to Transport Minister Rita Saffioti "The PTA will continue its plans to deliver a new digital radio system for our expanding public transport system. "It is extremely unfortunate that the State Government's project - which is limited to a radio network for train drivers and transit guards - has been caught up in the ongoing trade dispute between the US and China. "Given the trade dispute, and the current economic and health crisis facing the world, the PTA has recommended a fresh approach for the radio replacement project. "We'll continue to work towards the delivery of a high quality radio system at the best possible price for taxpayers." Minister's office - 6552 5500
WA travel restrictions come into place from midnight Tuesday3348Department of the Premier and Cabinet, Media Statements309800html27/03/2020 8:07:29 AM2020-03-27T07:15:00Z New intrastate travel restrictions come into effect from midnight, Tuesday, March 31 Western Australians will not be permitted to leave their regional boundary Exemptions will apply for reasons including work, to attend medical appointments, and compassionate groundsThe McGowan Government will introduce further restrictions on travel within the State from midnight Tuesday, to assist in reducing the spread of COVID-19. From midnight Tuesday night (12am Wednesday morning), restrictions will be placed on travel within the entire State of Western Australia. Western Australians will not be permitted to leave their regional boundary. Police have the power to enforce these restrictions if necessary, and fines of up to $50,000 can be issued. Exemptions will apply in circumstances including employment purposes; medical or veterinary reasons; delivery of essential services including health or emergency services; people living across regional boundaries, who may not have access to groceries or supplies immediately within their region; transport of goods; compassionate grounds; a family member has primary care responsibilities; for school, TAFE or tertiary study reasons; to escape domestic violence or due to an emergency. The regional boundaries mirror those of the regional development commissions. Due to their close proximity, the Perth and Peel regions will combine into one region. See map here Other regions are South-West, Great Southern, Goldfields-Esperance, Mid-West, Wheatbelt, Gascoyne, Pilbara and Kimberley. Additional restrictions to remote Aboriginal communities were announced by the Aboriginal Affairs Minister, to provide extra protection to these vulnerable communities. Comments attributed to Premier Mark McGowan "These are extraordinary times, and we have a responsibility to implement extraordinary measures to protect Western Australians, and stop the spread of COVID-19. "It is absolutely vital that Western Australians abide by these restrictions, to help protect themselves, their family and the wider community. "This is an important measure that will help us stop the spread. "We are all in this together. I urge everyone to do their duty as Western Australians, and cease all travel within the State. "Everyone has a responsibility to do the right thing and we expect all Western Australians to heed the message. However, police will enforce the law to those who choose to ignore it. "My message to Western Australians is this - stay home, do not travel within WA, and please continue to observed the social distancing rules. "We have announced this today to give everyone a few days to make their own necessary arrangements and return home." Premier's office - 6552 5000
McGowan Government to offer expenditure relief for explorers3329Department of the Premier and Cabinet, Media Statements15100html27/03/2020 6:30:32 AM2020-03-27T06:30:00Z Expenditure relief for WA's mining exploration industry in wake of COVID-19 State Government investigating other ways to assist industry The McGowan Government is providing guidance to clarify the criteria that can be applied in granting exemption from exploration expenditure requirements in Western Australia. The measures will help provide relief to companies and help support the State's economy to respond to COVID-19. Mines and Petroleum Minister Bill Johnston has enabled an exemption from exploration expenditure to be considered if tenement holders are unable to meet the tenement's expenditure requirements as a direct result of COVID-19 or because of restrictions imposed by the State and Federal governments. This decision will be valid until March 31, 2021, unless rescinded earlier. The statement of opinion from Mr Johnston will be published in the Government Gazette in the coming days. Applications can be made to the Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety (DMIRS), detailing the reasons an extension of time is required through the existing Form 5 process. In terms of tenement rents, there is an existing mechanism which allows tenement holders to apply for an extension of time to pay. Applications can be made to DMIRS detailing the reasons an extension of time is required. DMIRS is investigating a range of other initiatives that may assist the industry, while not compromising the integrity of our legislative framework. Comments attributed to Mines and Petroleum Minister Bill Johnston "These are uncertain and challenging times, and I want to thank those in the mining industry for sharing their views on how the State Government can assist. "The McGowan Government is taking this situation very seriously and is working to identify opportunities to assist our local businesses in the sector. "It's critical more than ever that the McGowan Government continues to support one of our most important industries. "Our mining industry has played a huge part in the growth and development of this State, and it will continue to play an important role for years to come." Minister's office - 6552 6700
Temporary licensing changes in place to help elderly and essential workers3321Department of the Premier and Cabinet, Media Statements26550html27/03/2020 5:20:26 AM2020-03-27T05:15:00Z Practical Driving Assessments to be prioritised for emergency and employment reasons Changes to requirements for elderly driver medicals and Practical Driving Assessments Manual process to work with elderly who do not want to attend medical appointments or licensing centres during this time The Department of Transport is introducing several changes to its services to manage disruption arising from the COVID-19 pandemic. Practical Driving Assessments (PDAs) will continue but they will be limited and prioritised according to need. From Monday (March 30), C Class (car) PDAs will only be available to learners who require a driver's licence for employment or emergency services, and customers who have a PDA booked which they do not urgently require are being asked to cancel online. The Department of Transport is contacting all booked candidates to ascertain if they fall into the priority categories of freight task, medical reasons or carers, employment (essential services) and emergency services. Priority candidates will be booked in at the earliest possible date for a test at an available site. Meanwhile, the Department of Transport will continue to offer motorcycle licence and heavy vehicle PDAs to assist the freight industry. The department is also working with elderly drivers that are ordinarily required to undertake a medical assessment or Practical Driving Assessment to prove their fitness to drive. The Department of Transport is looking to introduce a manual process that can be offered to elderly clients that are unable to undertake their medical assessment for their driver's licence. Furthermore, drivers that require a new photograph when renewing their licence will be temporarily excused from this requirement so visitation to licensing centres is minimised. Comments attributed to Transport Minister Rita Saffioti "These steps are aimed at keeping employees and customers safe while delivering resources to where they are most needed. "It also ensures the more vulnerable members of our community can renew their licences without having to attend in person. "My office has been contacted by elderly drivers who do not want to attend their GP or their local licensing centres in person. I respect and agree with their position. "This is an extremely challenging time and I urge customers to be patient as we manage the COVID-19 crisis." Minister's office - 6552 5500
Gun shops to close as part of further measures in COVID-19 response3320Department of the Premier and Cabinet, Media Statements97180html27/03/2020 5:09:45 AM2020-03-27T05:05:00Z Gun shops to close from midday, March 27, 2020. As part of additional measures to respond to the Coronavirus emergency, the Western Australian Government has moved to close gun shops and firearm dealerships. From midday, as part of a direction under the Emergency Management Act, all gun shops across the State are required to close. It follows stage two restrictions to close down community sporting facilities and other venues such as shooting ranges and gun clubs. Whilst it is recognised licensed firearm owners and dealers exercise high compliance, these preventative measures are being taken in the interests of community safety. Exemptions will be put in place to ensure farmers and other rural landholders can continue to access ammunition for pest control and animal welfare reasons through registered firearm dealers. Comments attributed to Premier Mark McGowan "Given the closure of firearm sporting clubs and shooting venues, and the need to comply with social distancing, there is effectively no need for over the counter sales at gun stores. "Importantly we will ensure farmers and rural landholders continue to have access to ammunition for pest control and animal welfare reasons. "In these unprecedented times, we are taking sensible decisions and putting preventative measures in place to limit the spread of this virus and ensure the safety of the community." Premier's office - 6552 5000
New support for small businesses during liquor restrictions3315Department of the Premier and Cabinet, Media Statements25030html27/03/2020 4:36:32 AM2020-03-27T04:30:00Z Six-month occasional liquor licenses to allow for sale of liquor with takeaway meals Liquor restrictions adjusted for cellar door sales Hotline and email set up for licensees with queries about packaged liquor Food outlets and other venues with existing liquor licences will be able to apply for an occasional liquor licence for up to six months to allow for the sale of packaged alcohol with a takeaway meal. The occasional liquor licence means that certain restaurants, small bars, taverns and other outlets with existing liquor licences will now be able to sell one bottle of wine and a six-pack of beer, cider or pre-mixed spirits with a takeaway or delivered meal order. The McGowan Government has also moved to support local wine producers with an amendment to the current liquor restrictions to allow cellar-door sales of up to nine litres of wine (12 bottles) per customer per week in Western Australia. Sales to interstate and overseas customers or West Australian liquor licence holders are not affected by the current liquor restrictions. Wholesalers who service the Western Australian liquor industry are unaffected by the liquor restrictions. However, wholesalers that sell to the public must still meet the current liquor restrictions. Hotels, taverns and other outlets that can currently sell packaged liquor over the counter can continue to do so even if their venue has been restricted from having patrons remain on site. Licensees must continue to adhere to the social distancing guidelines and only sell packaged alcohol to be taken away. The adjustments to the liquor restrictions came into effect at 1230pm today. A simplified application form for occasional liquor licence, which will be fast tracked on receipt, is available on the Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries' website https//www.dlgsc.wa.gov.au/racing-gaming-and-liquor/liquor/liqour-applications The application fee will also be waived. For further enquiries about obtaining an occasional licence, please call 6551 4904 or email occasionals@dlgsc.wa.gov.au. Comments attributed to Racing and Gaming Minister Paul Papalia "During these extremely difficult times, small businesses need help being innovative and adapting their business models. "We are given certain licensed food outlets the opportunity to provide customers with something similar to the dining experience they enjoyed before by allowing packaged alcohol with a takeaway or delivered meal. "A hotline and dedicated email address has also been set up for any queries that licensees may have, and the application fee has been waived and the whole process fast tracked. "We have also consulted with wine producers and adjusted the liquor restrictions so they can supply a 12 bottle case of wine per customer per week from the cellar door. "It's important to note that WA's liquor producers do not have restrictions on the amount they can sell to customers interstate, overseas or to wholesalers both in WA and elsewhere." Minister's office - 6552 5600