The Nationals WA have raised concerns with the State Government regarding recently introduced intrastate travel restrictions aimed at slowing the spread of COVID-19.
Leader Mia Davies said despite the publication of the Prohibition on Regional Travel Directions last week, several grey areas had emerged which required clarification.
“While we welcome regional travel restrictions to slow the spread of COVID-19 in WA, our offices are experiencing a high volume of calls from regional residents who are seeking guidance for their circumstances,” Ms Davies said.
“The State Government has asked West Australians to be patient while they deliver clearer guidance – including exemption application forms and FAQs – but we think these processes should have been in place prior to the travel restrictions coming into effect.”
Ms Davies said areas requiring clarification included:
· Arrangement for border communities to access goods and services;
· The ability for families to support elderly or vulnerable family members across regional boundaries;
· The number of people permitted to travel in vehicles, including when car-pooling to a work-site; and
· The ability for immediate family members to accompany people with exemptions.
Member for the Agricultural Region, Martin Aldridge MLC, said the State Government’s lack of detail was contributing to uncertainty and anxiety in regional communities.
“Many regional residents who have compelling reasons to travel are still seeking clarification on how to interpret the State Government’s directions, and risk fines of up to $50,000 for individuals or $250,000 for businesses if they get it wrong,” Mr Aldridge said.
“Regional West Australians are keen to do the right thing, we just need to know what the right thing is,” he said.
“I welcome the announcement of the COVID hotline – something we called for early on – but there are still grey areas that could be better addressed.
Mr Aldridge said he was also concerned about reports of police preventing movement within regional boundaries.
“Local residents have told my office they have been stopped by police and refused passage, despite not crossing any regional borders.”
Mr Aldridge called for the State Government to publish supplementary advice and guidance material to ensure West Australians had greater clarity about the restrictions.