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COVID-19 testing criteria further expanded in Western Australia4138Department of the Premier and Cabinet, Media Statementshtml8/04/2020 6:55:49 AM2020-04-08T06:45:00Z Coronavirus testing for anyone in Western Australia showing signs of a fever OR acute respiratory infection Expansion of criteria to assist in tracking individual cases and community transmission Metropolitan COVID clinics to adjust hours over Easter long weekend The testing criteria for COVID-19 will be expanded significantly at all COVID-19 clinics and testing sites across Western Australia. From tomorrow (Thursday, April 9), the testing criteria will be amended to include anyone presenting with a fever (≥38°C) a history of a fever in the last few days OR an acute respiratory infection e.g. shortness of breath, cough, sore throat will be tested. There are now nine COVID clinics open across Western Australia, with the Broome clinic opening its doors today. People in regional areas can also get tested at a public hospital, health service or remote health clinic. Over the four-day Easter long weekend, all metropolitan COVID clinics will adjust their hours. They will open from 10am to 4pm. The Bunbury Health Campus COVID clinic will maintain regular hours (10am-4pm), as will the Broome Hospital COVID clinic (8.30am-4pm) which opens today. To date 19,615 people in Western Australia have tested negative for COVID-19. Members of the public can phone the COVID-19 Health Information Line on 1800 020 080 or the 13COVID (132 68 43) number for advice and find more information by visiting http//www.healthywa.wa.gov.au Comments attributed to Health Minister Roger Cook "By expanding the testing regime we will be able to find new cases, protect our most vulnerable people and ensure we are tracking the movement of this virus in our community. "Test, trace and isolate - we know this is vital to stay on top of this deadly and insidious virus. Today's announcement goes to the heart of this important public health strategy. "If you have symptoms and meet the criteria then please get tested. We are all in this together and together we will get through this." Minister's office - 6552 6500 WA COVID clinic Adjusted hours (Easter) Location Royal Perth Hospital 10am-4pm Ground floor, Ainslie House, 48 Murray Street, Perth Armadale Health Service 10am-4pm Ground floor, 3056 Albany Highway, Mount Nasura St John of God Midland Hospital 10am-4pm Yelverton Drive, Midland Fiona Stanley Hospital 10am-4pm Bedbrook Row, north-eastern end of hospital, Murdoch Rockingham Hospital 10am-4pm Elanora Drive, Cooloongup Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital 10am-4pm C Block, Hospital Avenue, Nedlands Joondalup Hospital 10am-4pm Car Park P4, Regents Park Road, Joondalup Bunbury Health Campus 10am-4pm 30 metres left of the main entrance, Bussell Highway (corner Robertson Drive), Bunbury Broome Hospital 8.30am-4pm Outpatient Specialist Centre Broome Hospital, Robinson Street, Broome
Joint media statement - Disaster assistance for flooded WA communities4137Department of the Premier and Cabinet, Media Statementshtml8/04/2020 6:24:58 AM2020-04-08T06:20:00ZDisaster assistance has been made available to help communities in the Gascoyne and Pilbara regions recover from flooding associated with a Tropical Low that lashed the Western Australian coastline in March this year. Assistance is being provided through the jointly funded Commonwealth-State Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements. Minister for Natural Disaster and Emergency Management David Littleproud said assistance would ensure impacted communities bounced back quickly from the heavy rain and damaging winds of the Tropical Low. "Both the Commonwealth and the State will be picking up part of the bill to fix key local roads and community infrastructure," Minister Littleproud said. "Reconnecting parts of the community by fixing roads helps speed up the overall recovery. "We will continue to stand by these communities and will make more assistance available if needed." Western Australian Minister for Emergency Services Francis Logan said rainfall during the event had resulted in significant damage to critical infrastructure across the Midwest Gascoyne and Pilbara. "The Gascoyne catchment was heavily impacted by this Tropical Low with 70 millimetres of rain falling in Gascoyne Junction in just 24 hours," Minister Logan said. "This financial support will greatly assist those impacted communities who are faced with extensive costs to repair their local roads." The Commonwealth and Western Australian governments will continue to monitor the impacts of the weather event and will extend the funding to other local government areas if required. Information on disaster assistance is available on the Australian Government's Disaster Assist website at disasterassist.gov.au WA Emergency Services Minister's office - 6552 6300
Stay home and keep safe this Easter4261Department of the Premier and Cabinet, Media Statementshtml8/04/2020 8:00:27 AM2020-04-08T05:50:00Z Stay home this Easter Intra and interstate travel restrictions apply Legislated double demerit points apply across Easter long weekend.The safest thing that you can do this Easter is stay home. Western Australians are reminded that only essential travel is permitted on our roads with significant intrastate and interstate travel restrictions in place, to limit the spread of COVID-19. There are penalties for those who attempt to travel in breach of these restrictions. WA traffic laws continue to apply and double demerit points come into force from midnight Wednesday April 8 until midnight Monday April 13, 2020. Double demerits apply to speeding, drink and drug driving, going through a red light, mobile phone use whilst driving, not wearing a seat belt, using a device designed to evade detection by a speed camera, and driving in a way to avoid detection by a speed camera. It is hoped that this Easter, with far fewer people on our roads, we will see a significant drop in deaths and serious injuries, particularly on our country roads. Our hospitals and health care workers need us to stay home. Comments attributed to Police and Road Safety Minister Michelle Roberts "In these unprecedented times combatting COVID-19, very few of us will be on our roads this Easter long weekend "If you have to drive, drive safely and to the road conditions. "Our doctors and nurses are working around the clock to fight this pandemic, and they need you to stay home. "I'd like to take the opportunity to wish every Western Australian a safe and healthy Easter." Minister's office - 6552 6900
$91.2 million police package to support COVID-19 response4135Department of the Premier and Cabinet, Media Statementshtml8/04/2020 5:15:31 AM2020-04-08T05:15:00Z 150 additional police officers to be recruited immediately $17.8 million to expand police tracking and tracing capabilities The McGowan Government has announced a $91 million package of measures to support the State's emergency response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Government is providing the WA Police Force with an additional $73.4 million to immediately recruit an extra 150 police officers to strengthen the frontline. Recruits will be given expedited training in core modules to allow their deployment to support roles as soon as possible, and free up fully trained police officers for deployment to the frontline. A further 135 recruits already in training are being fast-tracked for deployment to support roles. A total of $14.8 million in funding is also being provided to purchase 100 mobile intelligence cameras, also known as Automatic Number Plate Recognition technology. These cameras will be immediately deployed to monitor and enforce movement restrictions around the State, such as the intrastate travel restrictions. A total of $3 million in funding is also being provided to expand police tracking and tracing capabilities with the purchase of GPS tracking devices for electronic monitoring devices. Laws passed by State Parliament last week allow the State Emergency Coordinator (Commissioner of Police) to order the use of electronic monitoring devices for the purpose of tracking a quarantine direction. The McGowan Government's investment in community safety has delivered an additional $300 million to the WA Police Force over the last three budgets. The commitment includes more than $90 million for police technology; body-worn cameras, drones, personal issue mobile devices, along with $19.2 million for personal issue body armour to help protect our officers. This record investment is supporting frontline police operations and giving the WA Police Force the resources it needs to help keep the community of Western Australia safe. Comments attributed to Premier Mark McGowan "My Government is throwing everything at our response to COVID-19, so that our community can get through this pandemic with as few fatalities and as little damage as possible. "Whether it's health, whether it's education or whether it's community safety, everything we are doing is to ensure we can stay ahead of the curve. "Our WA Police have been doing an excellent job serving our State; these additional resources will ensure they can continue to meet operational demands created by the State of Emergency. "This is not a time for complacency. We are not at the beginning of the end, in fact there are further challenges to come, so we need to be prepared both as individuals and as a community." Comments attributed to Police Minister Michelle Roberts "Now more than ever we need as many boots on the ground and this investment by our Government will provide a greater sense of security and assurance to the Western Australian community. "I'm also pleased that we're able to provide additional urgent funding for the purchase of Automatic Number Plate Recognition technology to make it easier for police to identify motor vehicles on the road. "It makes it less likely that people who have a legitimate purpose to be out and about will be stopped and will enhance the capacity of our police to identify and track offenders. "As a Government we have acted swiftly and decisively during this unprecedented emergency to not only protect our first responders and frontline workers, but also provide them with the resources they need to keep us safe." Premier's office - 6552 5000 Police Minister's office - 6552 6900
WA’s tourism numbers reach record high before COVID-19 pandemic4139Department of the Premier and Cabinet, Media Statementshtml8/04/2020 7:09:18 AM2020-04-08T05:00:00Z Western Australia's tourism industry valued at a record $11 billion in 2019 State recorded its highest growth rate in international holiday visitors Also recorded highest growth rate in spend of all States and Territories Interstate holiday visitor numbers and spend the highest on record Western Australia's tourism industry broke records in 2019 with visitor numbers and spend at all-time highs and the industry valued at $11 billion according to the latest figures. The results from Tourism Research Australia demonstrate the underlying strength of WA's tourism industry and the hope for the industry when the State's economy begins recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic. Today's figures show how well Western Australia had grown its international reputation over the last few years. In the year ending December 2019, the number of international holiday visitors increased by 10.1 per cent to 536,400. These visitors, according to the International Visitor Survey, spent $870 million - an increase of 13.7 per cent. This is the highest ever number of international holiday visitors to WA and the strongest growth rate in international holiday visitors and spend of all States and Territories. Other stand-outs include the Coral Coast region, which recorded a 30.4 per cent increase in international holiday-makers from 82,700 to 107,800 and the North-West which rose by almost 20 per cent. Overall a total of 995,700 international visitors travelled to the State, which was an increase of 3.3 per cent on the 2018 figures. Interstate records also continued to be broken with interstate holiday visitor numbers and spend the highest on record according to the National Visitor Survey. The number of interstate holiday visitors rose 21.4 per cent to 501,100 and the interstate holiday spend increased 30.4 per cent to $857 million. Interstate holiday-maker numbers to Australia's Golden Outback region rose by 80 per cent to 103,300 overnight visitors and the South-West rose by almost 15 per cent to 231,900 visitors. Western Australians also took more overnight trips within the State during this period, increasing by 11.2 per cent to 9.17 million intrastate overnight visitors. The South-West continued to be popular with WA holiday-makers with intrastate overnight visitors rising by 12.6 per cent to 2,458,800. The latest data shows overall 24.2 million daytrips were taken in Western Australia and 12 million overnight visitors came to, or travelled within, the State in 2019. Together these visitors spent $11 billion in the State, $5.2 billion (or 48 per cent) of which was spent in regional WA. Although these record figures have demonstrated how well Western Australia's tourism industry has been performing in recent years, the COVID-19 pandemic has significantly affected the industry. The McGowan Government has moved to support tourism industries with licence fee, utility charges, and payroll relief as well as COVID-19 support teams through Tourism WA (https//www.mediastatements.wa.gov.au/Pages/McGowan/2020/04/New-COVID-19-support-team-to-help-WA-tourism-industry.aspx). More support measures are currently being considered. Comments attributed to Tourism Minister Paul Papalia "These latest figures show just how well Western Australia's tourism industry was doing before the COVID-19 pandemic took hold. "These are extremely tough times for our tourism industry, but I hope that our operators find some comfort in these figures to know that what they were doing before was working and they had helped the sector rise in value to a record $11 billion. "I would like to say thank you to all our operators and marketers for their great efforts in recent years to grow our industry domestically, nationally and internationally. They should take great pride in what was achieved throughout the State. "The McGowan Government has moved to reduce costs for our tourism operators and there are more support measures being considered now. "Tourism WA has also established a COVID-19 Industry Support Team to provide businesses with advice on the assistance available as well as to stay across how they are managing this pandemic. "It will be a long road to recovery when the pandemic is over, but today's figures show that tourism was a significant part of our economy and the potential to rebuild strongly will be there in the years to come." Minister's office - 6552 5600
Commercial fishers’ licence fees waived as part of stimulus push4136Department of the Premier and Cabinet, Media Statementshtml8/04/2020 6:19:24 AM2020-04-07T18:15:00Z State Government provides financial and social support for WA's seafood industry Fee waivers and deferrals keep fishing, aquaculture and pearling operations running Assessing shovel-ready capital investment projects to benefit seafood sectors Measures designed to maintain jobs and create employment in regional communitiesFisheries Minister Peter Tinley today announced additional relief measures valued at $1.3 million for Western Australia's commercial fisheries following last month's support package for the State's $448 million per year rock lobster fishery. WA's fisheries were among the first to be financially impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic after China cancelled imports of seafood and brought the State's rock lobster industry to a standstill. Prior to the outbreak, China was WA's biggest market for rock lobster, taking close to 95 per cent of the commercial catch. The McGowan Government's management package for WA's rock lobster industry is already in place and providing some certainty to commercial fishers and an increase in supply to WA consumers. But there is now additional support for WA's other fisheries and the broader seafood sector. Following consultation with the WA Fishing Industry Council (WAFIC), the State Government agreed to waive a range of licence fees. Access fee payments will be deferred to reduce cash flow burdens on the commercial seafood sector. These measures include licences for commercial fishers, aquaculture, processing, pearling and fishing tour operators. A six-month extension of the usual timelines for Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) assessments and certifications is also on offer - the first time the MSC has taken such a step in its 22-year history and a reflection of the dire challenges facing the global seafood market. Shovel-ready capital investment projects are being assessed to potentially bring them on sooner to provide more stimulus and generate regional jobs over a number of years. Comments attributed to Fisheries Minister Peter Tinley "WA's seafood is globally recognised as among the best in the world and it's important we help re-establish the markets that have such historic importance for our State. 'The seafood industry has supported thousands of jobs - especially in our regional areas. As markets recover in Asia, we need to be ready to deliver again. "This new structured industry-wide approach, supported by WAFIC as the commercial seafood industry's peak body, offers a long-term recovery plan crucial to reducing economic risks and fast-tracking WA's return to a normal trade climate. "We will waive $1.3 million in annual licence fees and defer access and lease fee payments to assist fishing, aquaculture, pearling and fishing tour operators get back on their feet. "We recognise the need to reduce people movements around WA, so the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD) is working with relevant agencies to ensure access for those people and freight required to support the fishing industry. "It is also pleasing to see the announcement of a $110 million International Freight Assistance Mechanism by the Commonwealth. "The McGowan Government is actively engaged with the Commonwealth to ensure WA businesses can access airfreight options and maintain their hard-won position in increasingly competitive markets. "DPIRD and WAFIC are working closely together to determine any potential management adjustments that may assist operations for each of WA's 45 commercial fisheries. "We remain committed to ensuring our fisheries remain ecologically sound to economically sustainable. This approach is the best way to support industry recovery and re-build their markets and supply chains. "So I commend the MSC's offer of a six-month extension to the assessment and audit processes for the many WA fisheries they have independently certified as sustainable." Minister's office - 6552 5300
Second regional COVID clinic joins fight against coronavirus4134Department of the Premier and Cabinet, Media Statements29810html6/04/2020 3:06:25 AM2020-04-06T03:00:00Z COVID clinic to open on Wednesday at Broome Hospital to reduce the spread of COVID-19 Clinic staff will test for COVID-19 in line with the expanded testing criteria for the Kimberley A dedicated COVID clinic will open at Broome Hospital on Wednesday as part of the McGowan Government's immediate response to reducing the spread of COVID-19 in the Kimberley region. The clinic will operate from 8.30am-4pm, seven days a week and will be staffed by clinicians and administrative teams following strict infection control measures. Anybody with either a fever of or above 38 degrees or an acute respiratory infection should present for testing as soon as possible. In other Kimberley communities, those requiring testing are able to attend any WA Country Health Service hospital or health service or clinics operated by Aboriginal Medical Services or the Royal Flying Doctor Service. As of Saturday night, more than 240 COVID tests have been undertaken in the Kimberley with 170 of those occurring in Broome. The community is reminded that the COVID clinic is not intended to replace medical care available through general practitioners or at a hospital emergency department. Members of the public can phone the COVID-19 Health Information Line on 1800 020 080 or the 13COVID (132 68 43) number for advice and find more information by visiting http//www.healthywa.wa.gov.au Comments attributed to Health Minister Roger Cook "It makes sense that we would move to establish a dedicated clinic in the town and implore anyone experiencing either a fever or an acute respiratory infection to get tested as soon as possible. "The expanded testing regime in the town of Broome and remote Aboriginal communities will help us to find new cases, protect our most vulnerable and ensure we are tracking the movement of this virus as it develops. "I know communities in the Kimberley are concerned but I want to be clear, all our WA Country Health Service sites remain operational. "WA Health continues to work closely with Aboriginal Medical Services and other key agencies, and together they will continue to do everything within their power to protect you from COVID-19. "It's crucial that Western Australians continue to adhere to the rules surrounding social distancing and the nationwide shutdown of non-essential services." Comments attributed to Kimberley MLA Josie Farrer "I am pleased to hear that the COVID clinic is opening on Wednesday in Broome. "The new COVID clinic will help identify cases in the Kimberley and anyone with a fever or acute respiratory infection should get tested straight away. "Kimberley residents should continue to follow directions from the State Government and stay home where possible." Minister's office - 6552 6500
Western rock lobster topples blue swimmer crabs in fishing survey4121Department of the Premier and Cabinet, Media Statements8110html5/04/2020 12:12:43 AM2020-04-05T00:00:00Z Survey shows rock lobster is now the most-caught species by recreational fishers Knowing what is caught by all sectors is vital in developing management strategies Recfishing contributes $2.4 billion annually to WA's economyUntil now, Western Australia's regular comprehensive survey on what recreational fishers are catching around the State has revealed the blue swimmer crab as king. But the results of the latest research reveals that another crustacean has taken the crown - the western rock lobster. The WA Recreational Boat Fishing Survey is produced every two years and the latest 12 months of data, taken from 2017-18, reveals that an estimated 695,000 western rock lobsters were caught by boat fishers - making it WA's most-caught species for recfishers. Researchers from the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD) also found that an estimated 667,000 blue swimmer crabs were caught, making it the second most popular species for boat-based fishers. The rise of rock lobsters in the survey's findings follows a series of good recruitment years and effective resource management by DPIRD, in partnership with the commercial and recfishing sectors. This in turn has led to an abundance of rock lobsters and greater participation by recfishers who are now able to fish for lobster all year round. School whiting was the most popular finfish (259,000), followed by Australian herring (121,000) and pink snapper (116,000). The survey is based on State-wide data and shows most boat fishing is done in the West Coast Bioregion, between Augusta and Kalbarri. These updates on what recreational fishers catch, along with the annual commercial and charter fishing catches, is an important tool in developing effective management strategies for the resources' sustainability. For more on the latest Recreational Boat Fishing Survey, which also has details of what's released by recfishers, see the Catch! facts summary at http//www.fish.wa.gov.au/ Comments attributed to Fisheries Minister Peter Tinley "This fishing survey captured more than 1.15 million boat fishing hours and clearly demonstrates that recreational fishing is a huge part of the WA lifestyle. "Funds raised through recreational licence fees are ploughed back into the sector to help improve recreational fishing. "For example, more than 135,000 boat fishing licences were issued in 2017-18. Funding for this survey was sourced from recreational licence fees. "In these challenging times it is important to remember that WA supports a variety of world class fishing opportunities, which are made possible through comprehensive research and management programs. "COVID-19 restrictions require Western Australians to not undertake non-essential travel - this includes recreational fishing trips. "Fishing locally where you live can be enjoyed, provided participants observe the social distancing protocol of keeping a minimum 1.5 metres apart, which is one of the important measures to keep the community safe. "When we come out the other side of COVID-19, I'm sure many people will be looking forward to once again returning to many regional locations and wetting a line and spending time with family and friends." Minister's office - 6552 5300
McGowan Government launches energy roadmap4068Department of the Premier and Cabinet, Media Statements20190html4/04/2020 12:13:40 AM2020-04-03T22:00:00Z McGowan Government releases Distributed Energy Resources (DER) Roadmap Australian-first Roadmap includes a five-year plan to better integrate DEREnergy Minister Bill Johnston today released the Distributed Energy Resources Roadmap, produced by the McGowan Government's Energy Transformation Taskforce. Rooftop solar panels, batteries, electric vehicles and microgrids are transforming Western Australia's electricity system. These small-scale devices, known as Distributed Energy Resources (DER), present challenges and opportunities for the way we produce, manage and consume electricity in our State. Almost one in three households in the South West Interconnected System (SWIS) have rooftop solar, and this is expected to reach one in two over the next decade. The Roadmap outlines the actions we must take over the next five years in order to meet these challenges and harness the potential for cleaner, more affordable energy. Its work is essential to ensure Western Australians can continue to install and enjoy the benefits of rooftop solar and new energy technologies. Actions will include pilots to determine the best ways to overcome technical, regulatory and market barriers to integrate DER into our grid, including additional community batteries. Energy Policy WA, Western Power, Horizon Power, Synergy and the Australian Energy Market Operator are working together to implement this Roadmap. Alongside the delivery of the Roadmap, the State Government is working with the energy sector to carefully monitor any impacts COVID-19 is having on the power system. For more information, visit http//brighterenergyfuture.wa.gov.au Comments attributed to Energy Minister Bill Johnston "The McGowan Government is on the front foot, looking at how we can improve our power system and continue to make the most of solar energy. "The actions in the Roadmap will allow us to keep feeding more renewable energy into the grid for the benefit of all Western Australians. It is a robust plan for a brighter energy future. "Building a responsive and resilient power system will allow us to successfully manage risks over time - COVID-19 is a timely reminder of the importance of this." Comments attributed to Energy Transformation Taskforce chairperson Stephen Edwell "A major transformation of Western Australia's electricity sector is underway. "Rooftop solar is a great source of power, but changes are needed to ensure that it helps, rather than hinders the operation of our energy supply system. "Households and businesses can help make the most of our abundant solar generation by moving some of their electricity use from the evening to the middle of the day." Minister's office - 6552 6700
Planning changes support COVID-19 response and recovery4067Department of the Premier and Cabinet, Media Statements34250html3/04/2020 6:45:38 AM2020-04-03T06:45:00Z New regulations for local planning scheme provisions in State of Emergency State and local government collaborate to support essential community need State Government provides flexibility in public sector to support COVID-19 response and recovery Changes to planning and development regulations came into effect today, which provide for the continuation of essential public services in a State of Emergency. In response to the COVID-19 crisis, the McGowan Government has been working to identify legislative and regulatory measures that would better support urgent decision making and ensure the Government has the flexibility to best serve the Western Australian community. Amendments to the Planning and Development (Local Planning Schemes) Regulations 2015 provide the Minister for Planning with authority to temporarily override requirements and conditions set out in a local planning scheme, and existing conditions in planning approvals. This could include exemptions relating to noise or amenity restrictions that guide supermarket deliveries, waste and recycling services and construction activities, and take-away and retail delivery services among other locally driven compliance requirements. Under the amendments, the Minister for Planning can issue a notice to suppress local scheme provisions for a single council, across a specific region or across the State. The regulations also provide for streamlined advertising and decision-making processes. In this COVID-19 crisis, where strict social distancing protocols are enforced, this provides for digital access to plans and safer means of public inspection rather than inviting community members to venture away from home and visit physical buildings. A State of Emergency must be declared for these new regulatory provisions to have effect. The Minister thanked the Western Australian Local Government Association and all local councils for their collaboration and responsiveness to bring these regulatory changes into reality and across all COVID-19 response matters in recent weeks. Comments attributed to Planning Minister Rita Saffioti "These are unprecedented times and the McGowan Government has been working to identify extraordinary measures that can support urgent decision making, and ensure we can appropriately provide and care for the Western Australian community. "In a State of Emergency, these regulatory changes will provide the Government with an important mechanism to safeguard the supply of essential goods and services, help maintain civil order and lessen the administrative requirement for local councils in favour of direct frontline support in their communities. "We have seen in recent weeks the community response to this health crisis and its impact on our key services - and we have mobilised quickly to accommodate the increase in demand. "We need to keep the trucks rolling and the shutters open, and while there might be some short-term inconvenience, we need greater flexibility, speed and a higher degree of co-ordination around our planning regulations to prioritise these services, at this time. "These powers would provide for a higher order of community service in the face of an emergency and are not about circumventing public input in our planning processes. "All Western Australians benefit from strong collaboration between State and local government, and this is a good example of introducing greater flexibility in our planning system when and where it is warranted. "I am pleased to have the support of the WA Local Government Association and all local councils in bringing these regulatory changes to fruition." Minister's office - 6552 5500