AHA CEO Bradley Woods is sympathetic and supportive of Premier Mark McGowan’s decision to keep Western Australia’s borders closed beyond Saturday, 5 February.
In a press conference this morning, Mr Woods (pictured below) acknowledged that the Premier’s decision would not have been an easy one to make and said:
“For us as an industry, it does provide breathing space for us to prepare for what will eventually be the emergence of COVID in Western Australia.”
When asked about the economic impact of the decision, Mr Woods said, “Evaluating what the economic impact is from the delay of the border re-opening is impossible because what’s lost to interstate and international visitation is gained by keeping the state operating and keeping economic activity alive with domestic consumption.”
It will mean that a skills shortage will continue for the industry as Working Holiday Makers and international students will not be able to enter the state. Mr Woods acknowledged the immense pressure operators are facing, particularly in regional parts of the state, and said that it is a balance for them between “public service as well as maintaining good mental health” to avoid burnout.
Premier McGowan announced that the state would remain closed to interstate and international visitors at a primetime press conference on Thursday evening.
In a statement he said, “Unfortunately, the world changed in December when Omicron arrived.
“It would be irresponsible and reckless for the State Government to ignore the facts and ignore the reality of the situation playing out on the east coast.”
Border settings will be slightly eased on 5 February with approved travellers permitted to enter or to leave and return to the state. =he return of Western Australians will be allowed as will safe compassionate travel, including funeral, palliative care or terminally ill visitation.
The vaccination rate of the population over 12 in WA is 88.9 per cent today.
(Main photo thanks to Australian Broadcasting Corporation.)