Government said to be stuck in first gear on border facilities
The Western Australian government may be polling well on its anti-pandemic policies but the opposition highlights a shortfall in border Covid-19 testing of truck drivers.
In an echo of issues affecting the South Australia-Victoria border, the WA Liberals want a better system introduced both cover a possible threat of community transmission and to allow truck drivers to get on with their job with the least disruption.
“Given we have more than 300 people from the transport industry crossing the border daily, it is essential that this testing is as accessible as possible for an industry which continues to carry the nation during the pandemic,” shadow minister for transport Libby Mettam says.
“These truck drivers are happy to be tested to protect the health of all West Australians.
“But it is ridiculous that the testing isn’t done at the borders, or as close as practical like Norseman and Kununurra.
“While there are currently tests available at our regional hospitals, it is important there are accessible sites for the trucking industry, ensuring that testing is available around the clock at drive-through facilities – effectively on main arterial routes – so the delivery of essential goods to West Australians isn’t compromised.
“We need the Labor Government to urgently address this situation. We need to stay on top of the virus. WA has the lowest testing rate for Covid-19 in the country, with latest figures indicating just 10,514 tests per 100,000 compared to South Australia’s 16,740 per 100,000 and the Northern Territory’s 11,603 per 100,000.”
Read about how border testing issues are playing out in the east, here
Shadow health minister Zak Kirkup says he is appalled an efficient regime hadn’t been organised in Western Australia.
“The WA Liberals have been calling for truck drivers to be tested at the borders for more than a month,” Kirkup adds.
“With the volume of people crossing our so-called hard borders, a more efficient testing program should be the absolute priority for this government – especially when the health of all West Australians is at stake.
“It is staggering that the WA Labor government hasn’t sorted this out yet.
“We have seen how quickly Covid-19 raced through Victoria and the devastation it has caused.
“This is another example of why the WA Liberals have called for an independent review of our pandemic preparation.”
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