Not only are these pretty uncertain times, they’re constantly changing.
And among all the rapid-fire information, Botica’s Bunch managed to pull our Premier aside to get him to answer some of your questions personally.
Botica’s Bunch: “From midnight tonight, intra-state restrictions will come into effect for non-essential workers, so what does that mean for FIFO workers?”
Mark McGowan: “So, people travelling for work is an essential purpose,” he said, which included FIFO workers. “But those rosters the companies announced recently are pretty tough, and I just urge the companies if they don’t have to be so tough, to talk to their workforce and see if there can be alternatives that can be put into place.”
CO-PARENTING + BOUNDARY RESTRICTIONS
Listener Gary: “How do we get exemptions to cross regional boundaries for exchanging kids under co-parenting arrangements?”
Mark: “Well, that’s an exemption. So if you need to do that, you’re exempted. You don’t need any specific approval or anything like that. So obviously things like compassionate grounds or work or things of that nature, clearly exempted”
Botica’s Bunch: “Do we have to get some sort of note from somewhere or some kind of proof to show that you’re exempted?”
Mark: “Well, if you have some sort of proof of work is very helpful. In the case of a family relationship there can often be a document or a court document in place but if your mother’s ill, you may not have that proof but police will be spot-checking and if they don’t think you’re telling the truth, you can be fined”
Listener Cheryl: “Can we all have a holiday from utility payments, electricity, gas and water for a couple of months? It’s the only holiday we’ll be able to have for a while.”
Mark: “It’s a very good point and I’d love to be able to do something like that but we’re already… freezing the current level of electricity, water and those sorts of things for the coming year and put in place a whole bunch of payroll taxes for small businesses – we’re going to do a lot more in that regard, trying to keep businesses afloat.
“My main aim here is to keep people in jobs. If I can keep all those businesses that employ lots of people afloat, we’ll be much better off at the end of this.
“The state government has a lot of money, but we don’t have endless money.
“So if you spend all your money, I gotta be able to fund hospitals and schools – and the hospital bill is gonna be massive – so we’ve got to be able to keep doing those things in the future as well so, look, we’ll do more to make the cost of living better but we don’t have an endless amount of money.”
After this went to air, the Premier later announced that no household will have its water or electricity turned off if they are unable to pay the utility bills because of difficulties created by COVID-19.
Listener Bob: “Will the registration process for nursing be fast-tracked so that graduates can get into the workforce quicker?”
Mark: “I don’t have a specific answer on that. I know that we’re trying to get police officers out of the academy urgently and into our COVID response teams, when it comes to nurses and those sorts of things there’s been a huge recruitment program, but I’ll have to take that one on notice.
“I’m not sure that we can put untrained nurses in our hospitals, I think that might be unwise but I know we’re doing everything we can to get people who might have retired or have gone off to have a baby or something like that, to get them back into the workforce as soon as possible.”
Listener BJ: “Now that you’ve asked for all parents to keep their kids at home, where possible, how soon is it until we’re in a full lockdown?”
Mark: “Well I hope we’re never in a full lockdown, the idea that everyone can’t go out of their houses, which is essentially what a full lockdown is, is an apenar to me.”
“If we trim this virus down, and we end up with very little transmission except for people who are coming home from overseas who are then put into self-isolation and we put the border controls up on the eastern states where the infection is, I’m hopeful that we’ll get down to very low transmission or none. And if that occurs, obviously we can start lifting some of these restrictions.
“If we don’t have people coming from overseas and we don’t have them coming from over east and we’ve eradicated it from the community, why have the restrictions? That’s the ultimate aim but there’s a long road to get to that point.”
WHAT TO DO IF YOU SEE OR HEAR A PARTY GOING ON
Botica’s Bunch: “Say if we can hear a party around the corner from our place and there must be at least 15 people there – what do we do?”
Mark: “Report it. Not triple-0, but to call 131 444. They are liable for $1000 on-the-spot fines. Each.”