Important information for WA service providers from the Department of Communities
The Department of Communities has released important information on how decisions coming from National Cabinet regarding COVID-19 are implemented and interpreted in Western Australia.
In WA, the decisions are given effect via State of Emergency declarations from WA Police and the Department of Health. Those declarations can be found here.
Regarding Mass Gathering rules under the relevant declaration, those rules do not apply to any gathering at an office building that is necessary for the normal business of the premises. This would apply to all sector office buildings.
Concerning the closure of certain places of business, worship and entertainment, there may be a small impact for some service providers from these three declarations, which include closure of community, recreation or youth centres other than to host essential voluntary or public services such as food banks or homelessness services.
In relation to regional border restrictions that will take effect from midnight tonight, the currently available guidance is provided below* (the formal declaration has not yet been made). For the community services sector, the key point is that people travelling to work, both paid and unpaid, are exempted.
The Department of Communities suggests that if any of your staff are travelling to or for work across the regional boundaries outlined below, they carry a hard copy or electronic letter from you as their employer. A template letter is available for you to put on your own letterhead and use.
The Department of Communities acknowledges this is not a simple or perfect regulatory regime and are working closely with the Department of the Premier and Cabinet, WA Police and other agencies to improve communication of various measures, and ensure that the impact on the community services sector is actively considered in any directions that are made.
*Border controls – community service sector exemptions.
The WA Government will introduce further restrictions on travel within Western Australia from 11:59pm Tuesday, 31 March 2020 to assist in reducing the spread of COVID-19. After this time, most Western Australians will not be allowed to travel outside their designated region.
Western Australian intrastate travel is defined as movement through the boundaries of the regions of Western Australia.
These regions are:
- Perth and Peel (due to their proximity, the Perth and Peel regions will form one region)
- South West
- Great Southern
Police have the power to enforce these restrictions, and fines of up to $50,000 can be issued.
Exemptions will apply for:
- people travelling to work, both paid and unpaid
- attending medical appointments
- transporting freight
- where necessary to attend school or an educational institution
- those who do not have access to groceries or supplies within their region
- approved compassionate grounds.
Access to designated regions, including the Kimberley (including the entire Shire of Ngaanyatjarraku, and parts of the Shire of East Pilbara encompassing the communities of Jigalong, Martu homeland communities and Kiwirrkurra) have additional stronger restrictions in place. This is to help curb the spread of COVID-19 into our very vulnerable communities, which could have catastrophic consequences.