Western Australian premier Mark McGowan has announced that from Tuesday the 17th of August, all travellers from New South Wales will be designated ‘high risk’ and require strict health checks to enter the state.
- A negative Covid test.
- Proof of at least one dose of an approved Covid vaccine.
- Use of the G2G Now app.
This will be the first time in Australian history that travel between Australia’s federated states has been subject to mandatory vaccination.
When questioned, McGowan said that he hoped it would provide a template for other states to protect themselves against the ‘raging outbreak’ in New South Wales.
The G2G Now app is used by police to protect the community by ‘conducting remote checks on people in quarantine’. According to the official government website, the app uses facial recognition software and phone location data to ensure that people are remaining inside their quarantine.
Western Australia is the most isolated major city in the world. With deserts separating it from its fellow Australian cities, McGowan does not have to account for the same level of interstate movement as premiers in the Eastern states.
It has not yet been decided what will happen to long-haul truck drivers moving goods between ‘extreme risk’ jurisdictions. That will be the topic of National Cabinet meetings today.
Compassionate travel exemptions for those seeking to travel from New South Wales back to Western Australia will be ‘offered a pathway to return’ if they have ‘roots’ in Western Australia and a ‘legitimate right to return’.
Australia is a federated nation of states. Prohibiting Australian citizens from travelling between states will no doubt become a topic in the courts, as individuals challenge the legality of these restrictions.
The High Court has previously ruled that temporary border closures between states are allowed under the Biosecurity Act, but not permanent impediments to the free travel of citizens guaranteed by section 92 of the Constitution.