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Home Affairs Minister slams Mark McGowan’s ‘tit for tat’ approach on quarantine

Liam Bartlett
Article image for Home Affairs Minister slams Mark McGowan’s ‘tit for tat’ approach on quarantine

A war of words has erupted between the WA Premier and the federal government over border and quarantine policies.

Mark McGowan said the commonwealth government hasn’t done enough to guarantee the safety of returning Australians, but senior government figures say the premier is just trying to shift the blame.

Federal Home Affairs Minister Karen Andrews told 6PR’s Liam Bartlett, Premier Mark McGowan agreed to house return travellers in hotel quarantine at national cabinet more than 12 months ago.

“I understand that there are issues in Western Australia at the moment, but Premier McGowan agreed to those arrangements over a year ago,” she said.

“The tit for tat politics is not helping Australians and it really just needs to stop.”

Yesterday the federal government agreed to halve WA’s international arrivals to 512 people per week, but the Premier said he is “reluctant” to return to the full intake until the commonwealth open up their own facilities.

“Our ABF officials have been regularly informing parliament that our detention facilities don’t meet federal or state health standards for quarantine,” Minister Andrews said.

“All of that was taken into consideration at the time that the quarantine arrangements were put in place in march last year.

It has also been revealed the returned traveller whose COVID-19 infection started the Mercure hotel outbreak, which plunged Perth and Peel into lockdown, contracted the virus while in India for four months to get married.

Minister Andrews denied the federal government had been too lax in granting exemptions for Australians to travel overseas.

“When the exemption was granted for that individual it was absolutely in line with the criteria at the time,” she said.

“Since then there have been some changes, we have tightened that criteria, we tightened it from the 8th of January, and in respect to India we have tightened that as of Thursday last week.

“Exemptions at that time were granted on the basis that the travel was going to be for three months or more.

Click play to hear more. 

(Photo: iStock by Getty Images.) 

Liam Bartlett
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