The Government of Western Australia has declared a State of Emergency and a Public Health Emergency in response to COVID-19 coronavirus.

This  State of Emergency which provides additional and extraordinary powers to the State Emergency Coordinator, the Commissioner of Police to assist in the coordination of the emergency.  A number of  extensions have since been declared for the State of Emergency. 

Individual declarations considered of particular relevance to Local Government will be posted as they are released, along with WALGA commentary and advice if available.

To view all State Emergency Declarations, go to the State Government COVID-19 Emergency Declarations page.
 

 WA Roadmap for Easing COVID-19 Restrictions Released

Local Governments can re-open libraries, pools, recreation centres and other community facilities with restrictions from May 18, under the COVID-19 WA roadmap released by the Premier, Mark McGowan.
 
The four phase plan was developed with reference to the National Cabinet framework, taking into account the best health advice for WA.
 
WA is already effectively at Phase 1.
 
Phase 2 begins on Monday, 18 May and includes:
•    indoor and outdoor non-work gatherings lifted to 20 people
•    people are encouraged to return to work, unless they are unwell or vulnerable
•    cafés and restaurants can reopen with meal service (including pubs, bars, clubs, hotels and casino), limited to 20 patrons and the four square metre rule applied
•    weddings and funerals, limited to up to 20 attendees (30 for outdoor);
•    places of worship, community facilities and libraries to re-open, limited to 20 patrons
•    community sports (non-contact) limited to 20 people
•    outdoor or indoor fitness classes (minimal shared equipment) limited to 20 participants
•    public swimming pools can open under strict rules (one indoor pool and one outdoor pool), limited to 20 patrons per pool.
 
Regional travel restrictions are also being eased with travel permitted:
•    between the South-West, Great Southern, Wheatbelt, Perth and Peel regions
•    between the Mid-West, Gascoyne and Pilbara regions (excluding Biosecurity zone)
•    within the Goldfields-Esperance region (excluding the Biosecurity zone)
•    within the Kimberley Local Government Areas (the Commonwealth’s Biosecurity zone remains in place).
 
Phase 3, which will commence around four weeks after the commencement of Phase 2, will involve further easing of restrictions on non-work gatherings, contact community sport, beauty therapy and  personal care services, auctions, public playgrounds, skate parks, cinemas, museums, zoos, galleries and concert venues.
 
Phase 4 will be assessed and finalised in due course.

View the roadmap here

WALGA is working with relevant State Government agencies on bringing into effect these easing of restrictions, particularly relating to Local Government facilities and the implications for Environmental Health Officers. 

It should be noted that whilst restrictions will lift on Monday, May 18, the timing and discretion for opening facilities is a decision for each Local Government; and will be dependent upon individual operational circumstances, provision of guidelines, and receipt of appropriate and timely support from relevant State agencies.

Closure and Restrictions Directions Effective 18 May

Directions relating to the reopening of businesses, sport and recreation and community facilities and requirements for completion of Safety Plans can be found here.
 
Information to assist Local Governments in reopening public libraries, including a library-specific fact sheet can be found on the State Library website

These directions include:
•    indoor and outdoor non-work gatherings lifted to 20 people
•    people are encouraged to return to work, unless they are unwell or vulnerable
•    cafés and restaurants can reopen with meal service (including pubs, bars, clubs, hotels and casino), limited to 20 patrons and the four square metre rule applied
•    weddings and funerals, limited to up to 20 attendees (30 for outdoor);
•    places of worship, community facilities and libraries to re-open, limited to 20 patrons
•    community sports (non-contact) limited to 20 people
•    outdoor or indoor fitness classes (minimal shared equipment) limited to 20 participants
•    public swimming pools can open under strict rules (one indoor pool and one outdoor pool), limited to 20 patrons per pool.

Public playgrounds and skateparks are to remain closed.

Intrastate Travel Restrictions Effective 18 May

The State Declaration amending the prohibition of regional travel has been released and can be viewed   here 

Travel is now permitted:

  • between South West, Great Southern, Wheatbelt and Perth-Peel regions
  • between Mid West, Gascoyne and Pilbara regions (excluding the biosecurity zone)
  • within Goldfields-Esperance region (excluding the biosecurity zone)
  • within Kimberley local government areas (the Commonwealth’s biosecurity zone remains in place).

Travel exemptions will be required to travel between these 4 areas.

Exemptions apply for:

  • people travelling to work
  • attending medical appointments
  • transporting freight
  • those who do not have access to groceries or supplies within their region
  • returning to a place of residence
  • attending school or an educational institution where necessary
  • caring for family members
  • compassionate grounds.

Check points and mobile police patrols are in place to monitor travel across boundaries and ensure people are doing the right thing.

Police have the power to enforce these restrictions, and issue fines of up to $50,000.

See map here 

The State Government is encouraging people wishing to apply for a regional travel exemption to use the  G2G PASS online form. Please  submit your application at least 3 days prior to travel. By applying online, you can track your application status and will receive an email with the outcome of your application.

Alternatively, approval to travel can be requested at the checkpoint by providing WA Police with supporting documentation, such as a letter/email/SMS from an employer, to support their legitimate travel.
 
WALGA has a template letter that you can use, if you have staff who will require such evidence to provide to police. 
 

Following advocacy from WALGA, the declaration specifically includes mention of exemptions applied to waste as an essential service, stating :

Any person employed or engaged in the provision or maintenance of utility or waste management service.

The Declarations further outline exemptions regarding transport, freight and logistics as including:
 
Any person who in the course of their duties is responsible for the provision of transport, mail, courier, freight and logistics services.

State Government agencies and Local Governments have been asked to point the public to a single source for further information: https://www.wa.gov.au/organisation/department-of-the-premier-and-cabinet/covid-19-coronavirus-travel-and-transport-advice.

For more information, visit the advice website.

 

State Border Closure Effective Midnight, Sunday 6 April

The Premier has  announced that the WA Government will temporarily close the interstate border from midnight on Sunday, 6 April.

Exemptions in limited circumstances will apply, including, healthcare workers, emergency services workers, transport freight and logistics, people with specialist skills not available in WA, national or state security and governance, and courts and judicial services and extenuating compassionate grounds.

Exemptions will also apply for FIFO workers and their families to allow them entry, but 14-day self-isolation measures will need to be followed when they first enter the State.

Further information and the Direction can be found here
 

Kimberley Region Travel Restrictions 

Previous Directions preventing travel within the Kimberley Region introduced on 6 April have been revoked, however travel to the Kimberley is still subject to restrictions .

The Direction can be found here.
 

Public Authorities Directions — Delivery of Goods and Collection of Rubbish and Refuse

These Directions are aimed at freeing up restrictions around the process for ensuring delivery of goods to shops, delivery from shops to customers and the collection of waste.

The Public Authorities (Delivery of Goods and Collection of Rubbish and Refuse) Direction aim is to address concerns that have been raised regarding the Environment Protection Act 1986 Noise Regulations and the possibility of these Regulations restricting delivery times for shops providing the community with access to food and other essential goods. 

The Direction also encompasses information to ensure that waste collection can continue from these premises, however WALGA has some concerns regarding the way the Direction is worded in regard to rubbish and refuse. 

The Direction implies that Local Government is collecting, or arranging for the collection of waste from all shops. Under the Waste Avoidance and Resource Recovery Act 2007 (WARR Act), Local Government only has responsibility for Local Government waste which is defined as waste generated by households or the Local Government's own operations. Some Local Governments may provide commercial services, but not all. 

WALGA is seeking for the Direction to be amended to reflect the definition of waste and waste services as per the WARR Act, which is a more comprehensive definition and will cover all elements of the waste and waste services – including the provision of bins. 

 

Remote Aboriginal Communities Directions

The State has issued specific Directions to help protect the health and wellbeing of people living in remote Aboriginal communities in response to COVID-19.

Preventative Restriction of Activities Directions

Directions to bring Phase 2 restrictions into effect have superceded previous Directions around preventative measures that outlined activities prohibited in order to limit the spread of COVID-19.


The State has released Directions restricting attendance at funerals to 10 people (not including funeral personnel).
As many Local Governments are responsible for cemeteries, they may receive enquiries from the community on this issue. The Directions can be found here  (scroll down to Preventative Restriction of Activities Directions No 2).
 
Exemptions can be requested to allow more than 10 people to attend a funeral, but only where all people considered (counted) are immediate family members.

For more information, view the factsheet created by the Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries.
 

Closure of Certain Places of Business, Worship and Entertainment Direction 

Previous Directions from March regarding the closure of Certain Places of Business, Worship and Entertainment have been superceded by Directions enabling Phase 2 restrictions effective 18 May.