Prime Mover Magazine

Palmer challenges McGowan on WA border closure

The border closure of Western Australia is "unconstitutional" according to politician and businessman Clive Palmer who recently lodged documents with the High Court.

Palmer claims there is no time to waste to get people back to work and building prosperity for the state.

He has also called for WA Premier Mark McGowan to act now "to ensure a successful future beyond COVID-19 by opening his borders to allow trade and travel from Australian states into WA".

For Palmer, it is a matter of national importance to open the borders.

“The WA economy must keep growing and moving forward especially during the COVID-19 downturn," he said. "This is crucial for the survival of the domestic economy and for the whole of Australia."

Palmer said he was hopeful of a directions hearing from the High Court by the end of the week.

On Monday, the Government of Western Australia announced regional travel restrictions were to be lifted as part of the state's gradual easing of COVID-19 restrictions.

The state government's decision came seven days after restrictions were eased as part of Phase 2 of the WA roadmap, which saw internal borders within Western Australia reduce from 13 to only four.

Chief Health Officer, Dr Andrew Robertson, is satisfied that after seven days of no outbreaks during Phase 2, and with WA's hard border with the east in place, regional boundaries could be reduced further for the upcoming WA Day long weekend.

The WA Police Commissioner and the State Government are working with the Federal Government to remove the Commonwealth designated biosecurity areas from Friday, June 5 - around two weeks earlier than the anticipated deadline set by the Federal Government.

This means until then, people will need an exemption to enter the Kimberley region, parts of the East Pilbara and the Shire of Ngaanyatjarraku.

Consultation will continue with WA's remote communities to ensure they are provided with ongoing support after June 5. Existing Directions under the State Government's Emergency Management Act that restrict entry into these communities will remain in place pending further consultation.

Monitoring of Phase 2 will continue over coming days before other restrictions are eased in Phase 3, which will reportedly be introduced as soon as possible.

McGowan said the pandemic is having a significant impact on the local economy hence the call to ease restrictions as soon as it is safe to do so.

"If we continue to record low case numbers, I look forward to finalising Phase 3 of the WA roadmap and significantly ease restrictions further across our state," said McGowan.

"Based on health advice, Western Australia's hard border with the rest of the country will remain in place, and will likely be the final restriction lifted," he said.

Regional travel restrictions have been an important measure in limiting the spread of COVID-19 according to Health Minister, Roger Cook.

"We need a little more time before the Commonwealth biosecurity zones can be lifted, as COVID-19 poses a greater health risk to residents of remote Aboriginal communities," said Cook.

"We expect this to be finalised shortly with the Federal Government, and thank everyone in those areas, including Broome, for their co-operation," he said. "We hope this will provide certainty for those residents and businesses going forward."

In March, WA imposed strict conditions on truck drivers entering the state.

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