The Western Australian government has finally come to its senses and announced that it will welcome back NSW and Victorian visitors from next Tuesday.
Following the latest advice from WA’s Chief Health Officer and subject to no further outbreaks, travel from NSW and Victoria will be classified as ‘very low risk’ from 12.01am on Tuesday 8 December.
The states’ transition to the new category classification is due to Victoria surpassing 28 days of no community COVID-19 cases and the expectation of NSW reaching that milestone on Friday.
However, there are a few conditions of entry for travellers from both states that have been put in place by the WA government.
All Perth Airport arrivals will need to undergo a health screening and temperature test on arrival, and travellers must be prepared to take a COVID-19 test at the airport COVID clinic, if deemed necessary by a health clinician.
Travellers from NSW and Victoria will need to complete a G2G Pass declaration stipulating that they are free of any COVID-19 symptoms and which jurisdictions they have been to over the previous 14 days.
All travellers will receive an SMS health check reminder one week into their stay in WA, and land arrivals will be met at the border checkpoint for a health screening and to have their G2G Pass declaration checked.
Other jurisdictions currently in the ‘very low risk’ category include the Australian Capital Territory, Queensland, Northern Territory and Tasmania.
Travel from South Australia to WA remains prohibited unless travellers meet strict exemption criteria, pending further updated health advice.
This includes anyone who has been to South Australia in the previous 14 days or is travelling through South Australia on their way to WA.
The WA government said South Australia will remain a ‘medium risk’ jurisdiction until at least 11 December, pending a review of these arrangements next week.
WA Premier Mark McGowan said the state’s border controls have proved highly effective in reducing the risk of COVID-19 coming in from other Australian jurisdictions.
“As a result, Western Australia is safe and strong, and we want to keep it that way under our controlled border regime,” he said.
“We can take this next step, safely and cautiously, thanks to the recent success of our friends over east getting the spread of the virus under control.”
Premier McGowan said Victoria’s success is something “all Australians should be proud of”.
“I want to thank everyone for their understanding and co-operation. It’s because of their commitment [that] we are now able to take this next step,” he said.
“I’m very pleased we’ve been able to make progress with our controlled interstate border arrangements, and we’ve done so in a careful and cautious manner to keep the WA community safe.”
Bradley Woods, CEO of the Australian Hotels Association’s WA branch, said today’s announcement would signal the start of millions of dollars in forward bookings from interstate holidaymakers and a return to Perth and WA of business visitors.
“Today’s announcement is music to the ears of hotel operators and hospitality venues throughout the state, with travellers now able to book with the confidence that they can arrive into WA and not have to quarantine for 14 days,” he said.
“Large components of WA’s tourism and hospitality sector have been hit hard by border restrictions, including those that rely on business visitation, meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions (MICE).
“Business visitation and the MICE market brings hundreds of millions of dollars into the state and supports thousands of jobs.
“From today, bookings can be made with the certainty that events can be held in locations throughout WA, which will create an immediate and much-needed economic stimulus.”
Featured image source: iStock/bee32