Western Australian Premier Mark McGowan is advocating for the rest of the nation to follow his states CCP virus elimination strategy bringing National Cabinet’s policy of suppressing outbreaks into dispute.
Speaking at a press conference on Monday McGowan heralded lockdowns and border closures as the way forward and congratulated the Queensland government’s measure.
“The idea that you kick along with the virus and somehow that is a better model is wrong,” McGowan said.
“I just urge the New South Wales government and the people in New South Wales to look outside New South Wales and what other states and territories are doing in order to crush and kill the virus, that’s a better approach.”
The remarks, which come after the WA government announced on Monday that it would keep a hard border to Queensland for another ten days, are contrary to the National Cabinet’s agreement to use an aggressive suppression strategy to handle the virus outbreaks.
Acting Prime Minister Michael McCormack disagrees, and in strong support of NSW’s approach, he said they are the benchmark for pandemic management.
“NSW has done the heavy lifting in facilitating the arrival of the overwhelming majority of returning Australians during COVID-19, including West Australians and that must be recognised,” McCormack said at the same time kept the economy going.
Berejiklian in a press conference on Tuesday reminded the Western Australian premier that Australia’s goal was not elimination, but zero community transmission—particularly while overseas Australians continue to return home.
“Because we have confidence in our health system and health team, we’re able to make decisions which perhaps other state governments aren’t prepared to make,” she said.
The NSW government have used contact tracing and focused restrictions as a model to drive down virus cases.
“I support what National Cabinet has endorsed, and that is zero community transmission, anyone who thinks we’re going to eliminate or eradicate this disease, unfortunately, doesn’t appreciate what this pandemic means,” Berejiklian said.
“I don’t want a situation in New South Wales that exists in other states where there is a lack of certainty, where things are done very quickly,” she said.
A report published by the Institute of Public Affairs highlighted that an elimination strategy could cost Australia $319 billion.
Daniel Wild, Director of Research at the IPA and co-author of the Medical Capacity: An Alternative to Lockdowns report said strict measures such as lockdowns and border closers had caused significant loss to small business and those self-employed.
WA’s economy has been kept alive by its mining industry, which has continued throughout the pandemic.
Iron-ore exports to China have helped the state record a surplus budget despite plunging over $5 billion into its COVID-19 state recovery plan.