Western Australia sets up $50,000 fine for entering state without valid reason

Newstalk ZB / news.com.au,
Publish Date
Mon, 6 Apr 2020, 5:02PM
Officials at WA border are work through a 1km-long traffic jam as hundreds of motorists raced to get across before new border restrictions came into force on Sunday.Source:Supplied

Western Australia sets up $50,000 fine for entering state without valid reason

Newstalk ZB / news.com.au,
Publish Date
Mon, 6 Apr 2020, 5:02PM

Interstate entry into Western Australia is now so tight that there are only 15 reasons anyone can cross the border.

Those who slip into the state without a valid excuse risk a $50,000 fine.

Strict new borders restrictions came into place in WA just before midnight yesterday to attempt to slow the spread of coronavirus. Police blocks will be erected on main roads into the state, and airlines will be instructed not to allow non-WA residents onto flights.

According to a script given to police officers, obtained by the ABC, motorists are to be greeted in the same way they might be for a random breath test except they will be asked to state why they are travelling.

Some form of documentation, even a text, will be helpful for the person seeking to enter WA to back up their reason. But where that reason is obvious, such as an ambulance or a truck carrying produce, they will be waved through.

Police officers have been urged to take a “commonsense approach” on requests to enter the state but can escalate them to a more senior officer if they are unsure.

Attending school, caring for someone and fleeing domestic violence are all valid reasons to enter the state.

However, if a good reason to cross the state line isn’t given, the person will be asked to turn around after the details of the vehicle and the names of its occupants are taken.

To have a holiday is not a reason to travel to WA. Neither is to purchase alcohol, but a shopping trip for other essentials should suffice if you live in South Australia or the Northern Territory and your nearest shops are in WA.

People arriving from overseas will have to spend 14 days in a hotel under quarantine. Returning WA residents from others parts of Australia will have to do the same but at home.

Police have also discouraged people from travelling long distances within WA. A road trip from the Kimberley to Kalgoorlie, for instance, would be frowned upon as it could spread COVID-19 around the state. But if you have a valid reason to travel within the state, such as for work, that should be allowed.

The 15 exemptions to the WA travel ban are:

– People who are returning home

– People who are going to work or carrying out the duties of their occupation

– People meeting their primary-caring responsibilities

– Anyone under threat of physical or psychological harm or in an emergency situation (other than COVID-19)

– Someone needing to obtain goods or services without which they would be likely to suffer harm — if it is not reasonably available in the region they are in

– Students attending primary, secondary or tertiary education

– A parent or guardian enabling the education of someone they are responsible for

– A person fulfilling the obligations of a parenting plan, court order or similar

– Someone needing to obtain or provide veterinary or animal welfare services not reasonably available where they live

– A person whose spouse, de facto partner, child, grandchild, sibling, parent or grandparent has died, is suffering a life-threatening illness or has been incapacitated

– Those carrying out essential services

– Someone who is in police custody

– People who have written authorisation by the director-general of the Department of Education or is a member of that person's immediate family or household

– Someone who is required to travel by law

– A person with Police Commissioner Chris Dawson's approval.

There is also a long list of people whose job will allow them entry to the state. These include MPs, FIFO workers, truck drivers delivering essential goods, postal workers, farmers, taxi drivers and, specifically, WA Governor Kim Beazley.