WA rejects border opening, travel bubble

 

Western Australia Premier Mark McGowan has shut down any suggestion of a travel bubble for his state, as NSW and Victoria battle ongoing coronavirus outbreaks.

Mr McGowan said despite challenges from billionaire mining magnate Clive Palmer to reopen the state, who is arguing the closure is "unconstitutional", the Premier has said the hard border will remain because "it's worked".

Tasmania has proposed a travel bubble between states with low coronavirus infection numbers between Western Australia, South Australia and the Northern Territory - however Mr McGowan shut down any reciprocation, especially since the state has not recorded a community transmission case since April 12.

"People can jump from Victoria or NSW to other states without us having any control," he said on Tuesday.

WA Premier Mark McGowan plans to maintain a hard border, and dismissed suggestion of a travel bubble. Picture: Alamy
WA Premier Mark McGowan plans to maintain a hard border, and dismissed suggestion of a travel bubble. Picture: Alamy

 

"We've just kept a very, very strong arrangement in place to keep the borders closed, to make sure it's easily understood that we keep people from elsewhere out.

"And thus far it's worked."

Mr McGowan, however, acknowledged that while he stood firm on his hard border, he said his state was at risk of losing Clive Palmer's legal challenge to keep it closed.

The Premier said that if the High Court ruling went in favour of Mr Palmer, he would have no choice but to follow "the law of the land".

"The legal advice is that our case is very, very arguable," Mr McGowan said of his Government's decision to keep Western Australia closed.

"But when you go into a court case, the result can go either way. You cannot control it.

"If the High Court rules that the borders have to come down that is the law of the land, and I am sure the Police Commissioner would enforce the law of the land."

Western Australia Premier Mark McGowan says he will maintain a hard border unless the High Court rules against him. Picture: Richard Wainwright/AAP
Western Australia Premier Mark McGowan says he will maintain a hard border unless the High Court rules against him. Picture: Richard Wainwright/AAP

Mr McGowan's comments come as Tasmania gears up to open state borders to residents from South Australia, the Northern Territory and Western Australia from Friday, August 7.

Premier Peter Gutwein said that mandatory testing for essential workers travelling from Victoria and other "hotspots" - such as in NSW - would apply from July 31 at Tasmania's airports and seaports.

"I don't see Victoria being opened up with Tasmania in the near future but we will continue to monitor on a weekly and monthly basis," he said.

"With Queensland we need to take a position of caution.

"We will provide an update on August 7 on possible times and dates to relax those states and territory (but we don't see) Queensland, NSW or ACT (opening to Tasmania) any time before August 14."

 

Originally published as State rejects border opening, travel bubble

Clive Palmer is challenging WA’s hard border in the High Court. Picture: Stewart McLean
Clive Palmer is challenging WA’s hard border in the High Court. Picture: Stewart McLean

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