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Western Australia no reopening date set yet

Western Australia premier refuses to set reopening
Photo: WA premier refuses to set reopening date
Western Australia will soon ease border restrictions for Queensland but is likely to keep NSW, Victoria and ACT residents locked out for the rest of the year.

Premier Mark McGowan has dashed any hopes Western Australia will reopen for Christmas, saying he doesn't want to impose restrictions such as mask-wearing on the festive season.

The premier is refusing to follow Queensland's lead and set a date for the full reopening of interstate borders.

He says WA is on track to have 80 per cent of its eligible population fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by December, at which point the government will provide further certainty.

Queensland plans to scrap quarantine for fully vaccinated domestic travellers by December 17.
WA's border is currently shut to NSW, Victoria and the ACT, a situation that appears certain to remain in place for the rest of the year.

"Queensland has social (distancing) measures in place and I don't want to do that at Christmas," Mr McGowan told reporters on Tuesday.

"Imagine if we opened up, like they're proposing to do before Christmas, and then we have to put in place mask-wearing requirements, restrictions on the number of people going into restaurants and cafes, how many people can come to Christmas lunch.

"I don't really want to do that."

Travel between the two states will soon be made easier with Queensland to transition to "very low risk" under WA's controlled border regime from Friday.

The change, which removes the requirement for arrivals to quarantine for 14 days, comes as Queensland approaches three weeks with no community cases.

WA is on track to have more than 60 per cent of people aged 12 and over fully vaccinated in coming days but still trails other states and territories.

Australia's vaccine rollout coordinator John Frewen has warned WA is at risk of failing to achieve its 80 per cent target by Christmas.

WA's business community and the state opposition are urging the government to provide certainty on when borders will reopen.

Mr McGowan insists there will be no softening of restrictions this year even for fully vaccinated travellers from NSW, Victoria and the ACT.

"We've told people that we will be opening the border sometime next year ... I don't want to set dates that subsequently change," he said.

"People need to understand we'll open when the time is right, when it's safe to do so."

WA has enforced mandatory vaccinations for port, transport and freight workers, health and aged care staff, police and fly-in, fly-out mining workers.

Further mandates will be announced in coming days with school teachers among the groups under consideration.

WA is also opening all of its mass vaccination clinics to walk-ins, in a bid to encourage greater take-up.

The premier remained hopeful WA could manage a "soft landing" out of the pandemic, achieving high levels of vaccination without a major outbreak.

"I don't want to have gone through this two years of extreme pressure on the state and people of the state, and threats at every turn, to fall at the last hurdle," he said.

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