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Border heartbreak: Government defends hardline stance as ‘distressing’ details emerge

Liam Bartlett
Article image for Border heartbreak: Government defends hardline stance as ‘distressing’ details emerge

The Health Minister has defended the state’s decision to close the border to Queensland, after a Brisbane woman was denied the chance to say goodbye to her dying mother.

Jackie made an emergency flight to Perth on Friday after she promised her dying mother she would be there to say goodbye.

But due to the unfolding lockdown in Brisbane, the state government made the decision to bar flights arriving from Queensland, all while she was in the air.

On landing, she was told she could not go through the terminal and was held in a room for seven hours without food or water.

After six hours in the holding room, Jackie learned her mother had passed away.

Speaking to 6PR’s Liam Bartlett this morning, Roger Cook said “these decisions don’t come lightly”.

“We had a potential outbreak of the new UK strain of the disease, we didn’t know how that was going to behave,” he said.

“We needed to move quickly and decisively.”

“We obviously regret any inconvenience, or in this case the distressing situation that Jackie finds herself in.”

WA’s tough border stance has been criticized in recent weeks, as most jurisdictions move towards restrictions on specific locations of outbreaks rather than closing travel to entire states.

The Health Minister revealed that zero positive COVID-19 tests have been returned from interstate travellers since the controlled border was introduced.

Meanwhile the commonwealth is set to roll out COVID-19 vaccinations to Australians next month.

West Australians who refuse to get the jab won’t be fined by the state government.

“I can’t see a situation in Australia where we compel people to undertake a medical procedure, that’s never been our approach in the past,” the WA Health Minister said.

Roger Cook says while the government can’t force people to have the jab, there are some professions where it will be mandatory.

Click play to hear the full interview. 

Liam Bartlett
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