The State Opposition has slammed the McGowan Government for “playing political games,” accusing it of using the coronavirus pandemic for political gain.
Opposition leader Liza Harvey claimed Premier Mark McGowan was caught out, claiming he “tried to raise anxiety in the WA community by linking six cases of COVID-19 on an international livestock ship docked in Fremantle to needing to keep hard borders.
Mrs Harvey said Mr McGowan tried to blame the Federal Government for not alerting WA health authorities about the cases, but the Federal Agriculture Department had released information stating they were aware last Friday.
She said Mr McGowan’s comments were fearmongering.
“There was no crisis yesterday and the Premier knew it,” Mrs Harvey said.
“His comments trying to link this issue to the Ruby Princess situation in New South Wales were ridiculous. And so were his comments about WA’s hard borders and the importance of remaining isolated from the rest of the nation.”
“Mr McGowan deliberately manufactured unnecessary anxiety in the community for his own political purposes.”
“The public is starting to work out that he is continuing to use the COVID-19 pandemic for political gain.”
Mrs Harvey said in the meantime, Western Australians needed to learn to live with COVID-19.
“There will be more outbreaks in the future until there is a vaccine,” she said.
“The WA health system is well-equipped to handle outbreaks like this.”
“The WA community can feel safe that there is still no community spread of the virus in WA.”
She said that focus needed to change to providing a jobs plan for tens of thousands of unemployed and 262,000 underemployed Western Australians.
“This health crisis is now a jobs crisis. Our hospitality and tourism industries are being decimated while the Premier dithers with his limits of 20 patrons at a time for businesses when some of his Eastern States counterparts are increasing their limits to 50 and 80 on Monday,” Mrs Harvey said.
“The Prime Minister Scott Morrison said this morning that the expert medical advice at national level never recommended internal borders. He said states like WA had to justify those decisions because they weren’t good for the economy.”
“We have a jobs crisis now and need to get more West Australians back to work. The Premier is destroying people’s livelihoods by playing politics.”