WA likely to ease restrictions at 80% vaccination: Cook

Deputy Premier Roger Cook.

WA is likely to be subject to fewer COVID-19 restrictions by November when 80 per cent of the State’s population is expected to be vaccinated, Deputy Premier Roger Cook said.

Speaking at CCIWA’s inaugural Meet the Ministers event today (August 31), the Health Minister said once COVID-19 vaccine levels reached 80 per cent in WA for people aged 12 or above, the State could rely less on restrictions.

“Once we get to around about 80 per cent mark … we’re going to be in a position to be able to rely less upon the public health measures … and rely more upon the resilience of the WA population through the vaccination program,” he explained.

Minister Cook pointed to contact tracing, isolation, masks, quarantine and the 2-square-metre rule as measures that should be eased following 80 per cent vaccination.

He added that WA should reach those levels by late October to early November given the trajectory of the vaccine rollout.

Premier Mark McGowan stating has said that allowing WA’s borders to reopen when the State reaches 70 per cent vaccination would cost hundreds of lives and risk bringing the mining industry to a standstill.

The Federal Government’s four-phase plan to move Australia beyond COVID-19 restrictions includes a 70 per cent vaccination threshold before restrictions can be eased.

Lockdown compensation lessons

WA Small Business Minister Reece Whitby acknowledged the Government did not “keep every business happy” through its approach to lockdown compensation, but said it was continuing to learn.

Minister Whitby was responding to a question about the Government’s recent $3000 compensation scheme, which was expected to apply to more than 14,500 businesses in Perth and Peel and 2300 regional businesses.

CCIWA Chief Economist Aaron Morey said though the compensation package was a step-up from the $500 electricity grants announced for small business affected by the February lockdown, many businesses still missed out.

“We do hear a lot from some businesses that have missed out – those businesses with less than $75,000 turnover … allied health providers and some tourism businesses,” he said.

Minister Whitby said in the event of another lockdown, the State Government would consult with industry on how to approach compensation to business, but the goal was for lockdowns to not occur.

“We hope there won’t be another lockdown – there could be, and we hope to do better next time, and take a lot of consultation from industry and various businesses about how we would look at things differently,” he said.

“We are considering changes, but … the very best thing we can do for business is to keep the doors open.”

‘Act now’ to reduce emissions

WA Commerce and Environment and Climate Action Minister Amber-Jade Sanderson urged businesses to act as early as possible to ahcieve net zero emissions, signalling State Government support for small businesses to reach climate targets.

Responding to a question about whether all WA businesses should become net zero certified now to future-proof their business, Minster Sanderson said “yes – it ensures the future of your business”.

“People, clients, investors … want to understand the climate risk of businesses, but one of the things that has been very clear to me is that there isn’t a lot of support for small business to improve their sustainability to decarbonise and to reach net zero,” she added.

“That is something that we are looking at … how can we actually support business to do that.”

Minister Sanderson said the Government was exploring legislation around WA reaching net zero by 2050, though a Federal policy would be a better solution for business.

“There’s no question that the ideal scenario is a national emissions reduction plan for an even playing field, particularly for large organisations that work across the jurisdictions in Australia,” she said.

“That is actually what’s required. In the absence of that, we will look at what legislation we can do.”

Minister Sanderson stressed that climate risk was a key factor in business success, particularly following the recent IPCC report into climate change.

“There’s no part of the community that isn’t affected by climate actions and climate risk,” she said.

The State Government is driving emission reduction plans through its State Government agencies to achieve net zero by 2050 as well as working to decarbonise the State’s electricity network.

 

CCIWA is hosting a webinar on COVID-19 vaccinations in the workplace on September 8.

CCIWA Chief Economist Aaron Morey is hosting a Budget Breakdown on September 9.

Up-to-date information on WA’s COVID-19 restrictions can be found at CCIWA’s COVID-19 page.

For general advice and guidance, contact CCIWA’s Employee Relations Advice Centre on (08) 9365 7660 or [email protected].

Share This Post

You may also be interested in

Federal Government issues first $7b green bond
Federal Government issues first $7b green bond
Australia’s sustainable finance market achieved a major milestone with the Federal Government’s inaugural green bond issuing $7 billion.
Read more »
Workers Compensation changes are almost here – are you ready?
Workers Compensation changes are almost here – are you ready?
With less than a month to go, employers need to understand their responsibilities under the new Workers Compensation and Injury Management Act 2023.
Read more »
State minimum wage to rise 6.3%
State minimum wage to rise 6.3%
The State minimum wage will increase by 6.3% from July 1 in a move expected to impact about 27,000 employers and 300,000 workers. 
Read more »