Sweeping vaccine mandates in Western Australia’s (WA) could see an estimated 39,000 workers lose their jobs and livelihoods, a figure which is estimated to cost the state economy around $2.9 billion (US$2.1 billion).
WA Premier Mark McGowan has implemented one of Australia’s most significant vaccination mandates, currently requiring more than 75 percent of the state’s workforce—equivalent to over a million residents—to get vaccinated by January.
But this has come at a cost, with peak industry body Chamber of Commerce and Industry WA (CCIWA) revealing in a survey that 3.7 percent of employees—around 55,000 workers—would not receive a COVID-19 vaccination “under any circumstance.”
Of this figure, 39,000 are covered by the vaccination mandates, meaning they can no longer work in the state. In addition,will be locked out of their jobs due to a Dec. 1 deadline set for their industries.
The survey revealed a further 71,000 staff, or 4.8 percent of the workforce, said they were still considering whether to get a vaccine against COVID-19.
WA remains the lowest vaccinated state in the country, with 76.6 percent of the 12-and-over population receiving both doses.
Mandates Face Backlash
This comes as tens of thousands of West Australians have come out to protest 14 times against vaccine mandates since the start of October.
Additionally, the WA government is facing legal proceedings from police officers who are challenging the state and its chief health officer over the mandates. It is understood health and other industries plan to launch similar proceedings.
One officer representing a group of individuals who have lost their jobs, or face termination, told The Epoch Times the mandates were causing a substantial mental health toll on officers who are at a crossroads with their life long careers.
“It’s having a really big toll on the affected officers’ mental health. I’ve personally spoken to officers who are having breakdowns and who are on sick leave, and there has even been suicide attempts that are directly linked to the mandates,” former WA police officer Jordan McDonald said.
International consensus on vaccination mandates remains unclear.
Currenlty Ireland, one of the most vaccinated countries in the world at 93 percent, recently had to impose new restrictions following breakthroughs in COVID-19 cases.
While Florida in the United States, on the other hand, has scrapped vaccination and mask mandates and is currently tied as the state with the lowest daily COVID-19 cases per capita.
But the WA premier has remained steadfast in his decision to retain the health orders.
“The mandates will stay in place,” McGowan told ABC radio, reported news.com.au.
“I can’t say what a future premier might do, but they’ll be in place for a very long time while I’m the premier.”
“This will be a situation that exists for a long period of time, so people need to go and get vaccinated.”
Western Australia has been criticised for its stringent lockdowns and vaccine mandates, with Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce comparing the state’s measures to North Korea.
If you or someone you know needs help with their mental health please phone Lifeline on 13 11 14 in Australia or in the United States the suicide hotline on (800) 273-8255.