Western Australia Premier Mark McGowan has responded after Qantas boss Alan Joyce again likened his state to North Korea, as Western Australia’s hard border is set to drop.
McGowan has finally announced that his state will drop quarantine requirements for fully vaccinated interstate and international travellers on 3 March, with anyone aged 16 and over also required to have had their booster shot before entering.
Border restrictions were initially planned to lift on 5 February, however, McGowan announced that this date would be pushed back due to the Omicron outbreak in the eastern states.
Speaking on Sunrise earlier this week, Qantas CEO Alan Joyce again criticised McGowan’s decision to delay the border reopening by less than four weeks.
“I don’t know what the extra month has given us in Perth,” he said.
“We were planned, ready and organised to open up on February 5 and now we are struggling to meet March 3 because we have people on leave that we asked to take leave and it’s a very disorderly opening.
“We will put the capacity on, but it could have been done a lot better than this and it’s disappointing.”
Joyce did ultimately welcome the decision to ease border restrictions and compared WA to North Korea for the second time.
“Finally, our country’s reunited. We are no longer North Korea and South Korea,” he said.
“We have one country again.”
The WA Premier later responded to the comment, calling it “a bit over the top” and an “unfair comparison”.
“I don’t really get it,” Premier McGowan said. “(WA has) the most successful economy in the world, the greatest freedoms of anywhere in Australia for the last two years (and) virtually no one getting sick or passing away.
“Comparing us to North Korea, I think, might be a bit over the top.
“A repressive dictatorship that murders hundreds of thousands of people compared with a successful democracy, full of freedoms and the best economy in the world.
“I think that’s an unfair comparison.”
However, McGowan also stated that comments like Joyce’s “just comes with the job”.
“People are always going to attack you and criticise,” he said.
It marks the second time this month that Joyce has referred to the western state as akin to North Korea.
Earlier this month, Australian Aviation reported that Joyce had told Melbourne’s 3AW radio station that Australians should feel “outraged” that many citizens can fly to London but not Perth.
“There’s not even a plan to open up. It’s going to be closed indefinitely at this stage unless we have a plan to start living with COVID and opening up the whole country,” Joyce said at the time.
“We’re supposed to be all Australians and you can’t even travel around your own country.”
From 12:01am on 3 March, triple-dosed travellers will be free to enter WA from interstate, however, will need to register for a Good 2 Go (G2G) pass prior to travel.
Travellers will need to undertake a rapid antigen test within 12 hours of arrival and report any positive result and isolate as per current public health orders.
International arrivals will continue to only be required to have two doses of a recognised COVID-19 vaccine, as per Federal requirements.
International travellers will also require a G2G pass and undertake a rapid antigen test within 12 hours of arrival.
All international arrivals into the state will be provided with one rapid antigen test upon arrival.
Unvaccinated international arrivals will still be required to complete two weeks hotel quarantine upon arrival.