West Australian Premier Mark McGowan will go into Friday’s national cabinet meeting knowing his state overwhelmingly backs his hard border shutdown.
A bruising showdown is looming during the meeting of federal, state and territory leaders, as the Morrison government continues to push for the states to fully open their borders.
The federal coalition, which is powerless to open state borders, wants a national definition of a coronavirus hotspot to guide cross-border travel rules, as the pandemic continues.
A new poll shows Mr McGowan has the backing of 92 per cent of West Australians for his hard border policy, which denies interstate travellers entry to WA except under special circumstances.
The People’s Voice Poll by Painted Dog Research published in The West on Thursday shows support for the border closure has risen from 89 per cent in late May.
Support was highest among people aged 18-39 and women.
The survey of 837 West Australians also shows the Labor premier’s approval rating has soared to 91 per cent this month, from 87 per cent in June.
WA’s border restrictions have credited with keeping COVID-19 case numbers low but there have recently been several quarantine breaches, including two Adelaide women who were denied travel exemptions but still managed to enter the state by plane.
The McGowan government wants airlines to be forced to provide flight manifests to WA authorities so they can screen arrivals. The premier plans to raise the issue at the national cabinet.
But the nation’s carriers oppose the idea saying it’s impractical for an industry that’s had to stand down much of its workforce due to the pandemic.
Industry group Airlines for Australia and New Zealand says there have been more than 70 changes to domestic border restrictions since the pandemic began.
WA has recorded 655 cases of COVID-19 since the pandemic was declared in March. Most have recovered.
There are currently five active cases – two Western Australians and three people from interstate.
The state’s death toll is nine.