The war of words between WA premier Mark McGowan and the Federal Government shows no sign of abating with the WA leader accusing the Feds of wanting to “infect our public” with Covid.
The escalating tensions hinge on WA’s intention of maintaining its hard border with just about everyone while pursuing a zero Covid strategy irrespective of vaccine levels.
The Federal Government wants Australia to open up once the nation hits an 80 per cent vaccination threshold, with NSW currently set to achieve that target first despite rising case numbers.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison wants state borders open before Christmas, with Federal Treasurer Josh Frydenberg warning those states that don’t comply will be cut off from federal funding.
“When we get to 80 per cent, those borders should be open,” Frydenberg told Sky News.
“It is a reality that we have to live with the virus. We can’t eliminate it. Australia should open up as one … and that is why it is really important, whether you are in Western Australia, whether you are in Queensland, whether you are in the southern states, you should follow the plan.”
But McGowan questioned why the Morrison government was adamant on opening WA’s border while other states were battling rising case numbers.
“Why are they on this mission to bring Covid into Western Australia to infect our public, to ensure that we shut down parts of the economy, that we lose jobs, people get sick and some people die?” he said.
“Haven’t they seen what’s happening in NSW?
“I cannot understand why they’re doing this. It makes no sense. We are the strongest economy in Australia, we have the freest community. We have a society that is totally open. We have no one in hospital with Covid, yet they want that all to change. Why?”
It’s not just WA though, with Queensland lagging behind in the vaccine rollout putting further pressure on the Federal Government’s ambitions.