By Bruce Campbell-Fraser
Senior Adviser, Newgate Perth
Greetings from Perth, Western Australia, one of the world’s most isolated cities. Who knew that one day that would be helpful and even a source of pride?
With more than 10,000 kms of sea to the west and the desolate Nullarbor Plain to our east, Western Australian’s have embraced our natural isolation.
Overwhelmingly, Western Australian’s have also strongly supported the closure of the state borders to combat COVID-19. Indeed, the local Premier, Mark McGowan has recorded some of the highest approval ratings ever received by a political leader in a modern democracy.
The hard border requires any visitor from another Australian state to face a compulsory quarantine period of 14 days, the same policy as those returning from overseas. In effect making Western Australia an island within an island.
The hard border looks set to be the last COVID-19 restriction to be lifted in the Government’s roadmap to recovery.
Whilst the border closure and restrictions on social gatherings have hit the tourism, hospitality and economy hard, they’ve been tremendously successful in halting any community spread of COVID-19.
The payoff for the community is seeing life return to a semblance of normality much faster than other states and countries. Here in WA, we have seen sport kick off again, entertainment venues such cinemas, restaurants and cafes resume normal trading.
This weekend it has been amusing to watch the level of excitement around a particular restriction easing – being able to buy a beer in the pub whilst standing up. No seat required!
From mid-July, Western Australia’s relatively new 60,000 seat stadium will be able to host a capacity crowd for the local football derby between the West Coast Eagles and Fremantle Dockers. Watching West Coast beat Fremantle will certainly signal a return to normal!