PERTH (miningweekly.com) – The Chamber of Minerals and Energy (CME) of Western Australia has welcomed the state government’s decision to relax the state’s hard borders from November 14, allowing quarantine-free travel from those in Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania, the Northern Territory and the Australian Capital Territory.
Travelers coming from New South Wales and Victoria will be required to take a Covid-19 test on arrival, if deemed necessary, and will need to self-quarantine for a period of 14 days, as well as present for a Covid-19 test on day 11 of their quarantine.
"For more than seven months Western Australia has been isolated from the rest of the country, as we protected our community from Covid-19 and emerged from our own restrictions safely, inside our island within an island,” Premier Mark McGowan said on Friday.
"We are following the public health advice and taking safe, steady and sensible steps to cautiously replace our hard border with a new, controlled border.
"It is a reminder to everyone though, to not get complacent and take unnecessary risks, we all need to act responsibly and follow the health advice.”
CME CEO Paul Everingham said the move would help alleviate mental health and wellbeing issues for interstate fly-in, fly-out (FIFO) workers, who have spent months away from their homes and families during the Covid-19 pandemic.
He said it would also allow mining and resources sector operators improved opportunities to address current and future workforce needs.
Modelling in August predicted the sector in Western Australia would need an additional 8 000 skilled workers over the following 12 to 18 months to meet peak demand for the current A$129-billion worth of projects in the pipeline, with some of those roles being specialist positions that could not be sourced from within the state.
“We have worked closely with the Western Australian government throughout the pandemic on quarantine, screening protocols and FIFO DETECT. This collaboration has allowed the mining and resources sector to continue operating safely during a very difficult period, powering the local, state and federal economies.
“With no community transmission of Covid-19 in Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania, Northern Territory and the Australian Capital Territory, we support the Premier’s decision to open Western Australia’s borders to those states and territories,” said Everingham.
“Today’s announcement will also be music to the ears for workers looking relocate to Western Australia permanently as it will enable them to return home to get affairs in order and it will reduce complexity and cost of relocating families. A large number of employees relocated to Western Australia for work throughout the crisis and many others are considering making this change.
“For our members, this is a boost to the mental health and wellbeing of their workers and also allows them to plan with certainty for the workforce they will need for the years ahead.
“We look forward to continuing to work in collaboration with our members and the Western Australian government for a future relaxation of travel to and from New South Wales and Victoria when it is deemed safe to do so.”
CME estimates 60% of the sector's current interstate FIFO workforce comes from Queensland, with much of the remainder hailing from New South Wales and Victoria.