News – AU – WA Premier marks ongoing border controls in the wake of COVID-19 crisis to tackle drug imports


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Western Australian Prime Minister Mark McGowan has hinted that he is considering expanding the state’s “controlled border” beyond the COVID-19 pandemic to slow down the import of medicines

The Business Council of Australia has stated that the economy should reopen at each stage of the vaccine rollout, describing border closings as “economically harmful”

But Mr McGowan disagreed, saying tighter border controls could stay in WA beyond the pandemic

“We have the strongest economy in the country, regaining virtually all jobs lost during the pandemic, and avoiding a recession

“We have the strongest business trust, consumer trust, retail, hospitality, construction, construction industry in the country, the strongest mining industry in the country

“The reason we could do all of this was because we kept COVID out, our borders did that

Mr McGowan pointed to a decrease in methamphetamine imports in WA during the pandemic and said this unexpected side effect could be a reason for ongoing border controls

“We obviously have a significant reduction in methane use in Western Australia, and part of it are the border measures

“The Commissioner and I will continue to discuss what can be done to protect the state from the scourge of meth and other drugs. If necessary, we will consider measures we can take if we are re-elected

“If we can figure out how to keep this drug reduction in law, the Commissioner and I will work on it if we are re-elected”

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Mr McGowan did not rule out maintaining the current G2G passport system, which was put in place to protect the state from COVID-19 and allowed the government to track people entering WA

“At the border, we have employees looking for bananas and avocados Surely we can have people looking for meth there too

“And if civil libertarians or the like don’t like that, my argument would be that keeping meth out of WA is very important

“Of course, when employees look for bananas, tomatoes and avocados there, I don’t think it inappropriate for other employees to look for meth, heroin and cocaine there”

Liberal leader Zak Kirkup said adhering to strict border controls beyond the pandemic would create “immense overreach” for the government

“[It] is a foretaste of what will come when Labor gets too much control and when there is no opposition from the Liberal Party,” he said

“The Liberal Party fully supports the borders to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, but it does so now – suggesting we go further and somehow consider any Australian who might visit our state as potential meth – Dealers will deal with – I think it’s an immense overreach

“The best way to respond to meth is to make sure there are stricter laws, more police and effective operations to seize drugs from our streets”

Mr McGowan was out today casting an early vote in his Rockingham constituency ahead of the state elections

“I think what [early voting] does is let people get out and vote early in uncertain times,” he said

The WA Electoral Commission has indicated that up to 70 percent of voters could cast their ballots before election day amid polls pointing to a landslide Labor victory and warnings from Mr Kirkup that the party’s MPs should could be decimated

Mr Kirkup, who said his party could not win the election last week, told ABC Radio Perth that he would stick to the tradition and take action on Jan. March vote

“It probably plays a role in Labor’s strategy to get people out sooner instead of taking into account the messages and thinking about what could happen in the next 11 days,” he said

“It’s unusual, I’ve never seen that before, but it’s an unusual time to choose this “

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Mark McGowan, Prime Minister of Western Australia, Premier

News – AU – WA Premier marks ongoing border controls following COVID-19 crisis to tackle drug imports