Messages to Government, Members and Media
Master Builders are constantly monitoring this fast-evolving situation now known and addressed as Covid-19. We are continuously assessing the impacts on our industry and will continue to support our members by providing relevant guidance, support and advice in line with Federal and State Government responses.
To assist our members, we will continue to provide updated information on the situation through our website and other forums. We will continue to keep you updated with relevant information, fact sheets and information as we progress through these issues together.
- Intrastate travel restrictions come into effect from 11.59pm tonight (Tuesday)
- From this time, all intrastate travel must cease and Western Australians must stay within their regional boundaries
- Exemptions apply for reasons including travel for work, delivery of freight, and to attend medical appointments
- WA freight and construction industries to continue to provide services in metropolitan and regional areas
Western Australians are being urged to familiarise themselves with new intrastate travel restrictions that come into effect from 11.59pm tonight (Tuesday).
From 11.59pm tonight, Western Australians will not be permitted to travel outside of their regional boundary. This is an important measure that will help stop the spread of COVID-19.
Western Australians that are currently outside of their region and are able to return, should do so immediately.
Some exemptions apply, including travel for work purposes; to attend medical appointments; to transport freight; those who do not have access to groceries or supplies within their region; returning to a place of residence; where necessary to attend school or an educational institution; caring for family members; and approved compassionate grounds.
For clarity, the construction and freight industries, in particular, will continue to operate despite these new measures.
Check points and mobile police patrols will be in place to monitor travel across boundaries and ensure people are doing the right thing.
People are encouraged, where possible, to assist police by preparing documentation, such as a letter/email/SMS from an employer, to support their legitimate travel.
The State Government urges all Western Australians to remain calm, and take the time to ensure they understand the new restrictions, and the exemptions.
Additional information will be posted to www.wa.gov.au soon.
Comments attributed to Premier Mark McGowan:
“The message to Western Australians is clear – do not travel within WA. From 11.59pm, all non-essential intrastate travel must cease.
“Anyone planning to travel outside of their region for non-essential purposes must stay home, and we urge anyone that is currently outside of their region to return home immediately.
“We understand these measures may be inconvenient, but they are vital to ensure we continue to protect their fellow Western Australians and stop the spread of COVID-19.
“There are exemptions that will allow people to continue to travel for work, to deliver freight, attend medical appointments and compassionate grounds.
“Whilst tradesmen and workers within industry, in particular the construction industry, are exempt from the new intrastate travel restrictions, they must remain vigilant with social distancing practices and hygiene on site.
“I thank all Western Australians for their co-operation on this important matter.”
- Further relief for households experiencing financial hardship due to COVID-19, including extension of the Energy Assistance Payment, no disconnections for power and water and additional support for Keystart customers
- $502 million for small businesses including a reduction in electricity bills, licences fees waived, and additional payroll tax relief
- New initiatives to apply until September 30, 2020
- An additional $500 million allocated to health and other frontline service delivery, and capacity for additional industry support
- Budget deferred until October 8, 2020 for Government to focus on COVID-19
The McGowan Labor Government has unveiled a $1 billion economic and health relief package to support Western Australian businesses, households and community groups, and to boost the response by health and frontline services to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The package builds on the $25 million rent relief package for businesses operating on government-owned premises and $159 million Lotterywest funding package to assist community services impacted by COVID-19, announced earlier this week.
It also comes on top of the $607 million in relief and stimulus measures announced earlier in March, and the Government continues to roll out the $760 million in economic stimulus measures announced in late 2019.
- Eligibility for the previously announced Energy Assistance Payment boost has been expanded to include new eligible applicants until September 30, 2020. This doubles the amount of the EAP per year to $610 and provides a boost to Western Australians affected by COVID-19. This ensures that any person unemployed due to COVID-19 who becomes eligible for a concession card will receive an upfront $305 credited against their electricity bill (from May 11, 2020) and up to a further $305 credited over the course of the next year. EAP boost payments for Western Australians, eligible as at March 16, 2020 have been brought forward to this financial year rather than being paid from July 1, 2020 providing relief sooner to WA households. The extension of eligibility of the EAP boost is expected to increase the cost by $24.4 million to $115.8 million.
- No households in Western Australia experiencing financial hardship as a result of COVID-19 will have their power or water disconnected. In addition, as of tomorrow no interest will be charged on deferred bill payments for those experiencing COVID-19-related financial hardship. This applies to Synergy and Horizon Power customers.
- Households that are directly or indirectly impacted by COVID-19 may also apply for an interest-free payment arrangement and for late payment penalties to be waived for transfer duty, landholder duty, vehicle licence duty or land tax.
- Keystart customers facing financial hardship due to COVID-19 can apply to defer principal repayments and waive interest costs by up to six months. Assistance will be assessed on a case-by-case basis in line with Keystart’s Hardship Assessment policy. This will mean, for example, a customer borrowing $350,000 over a 30-year loan can defer estimated repayments of $10,690 over six months, or $1,781 per month. The interest saving over a six-month period would be around $7,000 for newly established loans.
These initiatives will be in place until September 30, 2020 and will be reviewed when necessary.
Small and medium-sized business assistance
- Electricity bills for around 95,000 small businesses will be reduced, with a one-off $2,500 credit available for Synergy and Horizon Power customers that consume less than 50 megawatt hours (MWh) per annum. The credit is available for current customers (as of March 31, 2020) and will be allocated from May 1, 2020 to reduce current and future electricity bills. The measure will provide some $236.8 million in relief to businesses such as cafes, delis, restaurants, beauticians and small retail stores that have been heavily impacted by recent trading restrictions to contain COVID-19.
- Payroll tax will be waived for a four-month period between March 1, 2020 to June 30, 2020 for small-to-medium sized businesses with Australia-wide annual wages of less than $7.5 million in 2019-20. This will deliver around $165 million in relief to around 10,700 businesses that will not be required to pay payroll tax for this period. The payroll tax waiver announced today replaces the payroll tax deferral already announced for particular small-to-medium sized businesses.
- $100.4 million has been allocated to waive a wide range of licence fees for small and medium‑sized businesses in COVID-19 impacted industries for the next 12 months. This includes licences for building services, plumbers and electricians; tourism businesses operating in national and marine parks; boat registration and mooring fees for tourism operators and commercial fishers; commercial fisheries licences; taxi booking service authorisation fees; settlement agent licence fees; and other statutory planning fees. Liquor licence renewal fees for 2020 will be waived and refunds provided for businesses that have already paid, benefitting around 5,500 businesses with a liquor licence.
- Businesses impacted by COVID-19 can also apply for an interest-free payment arrangement and for late payment penalties to be waived for payroll tax, transfer duty, landholder duty, vehicle licence duty or land tax.
- No small businesses facing financial difficulty due to COVID-19 will face power or water disconnections due to late payments. In addition, no interest will be charged on deferred bill payments. For electricity, this will apply to Synergy and Horizon Power customers who consume 50MWh or less.
Community services assistance
- Electricity bills for around 2,800 charities will be reduced, with a one-off $2,500 credit provided for groups on community service and charitable accommodation electricity tariffs with Synergy and Horizon Power. The credit will be allocated from May 1, 2020 to reduce current and future bills and is expected to provide an estimated $6.9 million in assistance.
- Funding certainty has been provided to community service providers, with government agencies to continue to pay contracts with the sector until at least June 30, 2020, even if providers are unable to deliver services due to impacts caused by COVID-19.
- This follows the announcement earlier this week that $159 million has been directed from Lotterywest to establish the COVID-19 Crisis Relief Fund to support not-for-profit sport, arts and community groups in dealing with the coronavirus.
A further $500 million has also been allocated to health and other frontline service delivery, as well as boosting capacity for additional industry support to ensure the Government can continue to provide a strong response to COVID-19. This funding will go towards increasing supplies of personal protective equipment, ventilators, additional staff and hospital beds to cope with a surge in demand in the health system, and increasing cleaning of public transport and schools and any additional measures required by frontline services.
The Government will continue to make further announcements to support Western Australians throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
The 2020-21 Budget has been deferred until October 8, 2020 in line with the rescheduling of the Commonwealth Budget (October 6, 2020). This will allow governments to focus on measures to respond to COVID-19 and to develop a clearer understanding of the financial and economic impacts as a result of the pandemic.
For more information visit: https://www.wa.gov.au/organisation/department-of-finance
Comments attributed to Premier Mark McGowan:
“These are unprecedented times for our community and our economy.
“My Government is doing everything it possibly can to support Western Australian businesses who are clearly facing enormous hardship as a result of strict social distancing measures introduced across the nation.
“My heart goes out to those who’ve been forced to close down, as well as Western Australians who’ve found themselves without a job.
“These additional support measures will assist thousands of businesses and households.
“The situation is evolving rapidly and the State Government will continue to monitor the situation and support Western Australians during this crisis.”
Comments attributed to Treasurer Ben Wyatt:
“We have now invested a total of $1.6 billion to assist businesses and households to cope with the severe impacts of COVID-19.
“The reduction in electricity bills will provide some relief to thousands of businesses and we expect the deferral of loan repayments for Keystart customers will give many homeowners some breathing space during these difficult times.
“There are some businesses that have not been impacted by COVID-19. In fact, some businesses have actually seen an increase in profitability due to the virus.
“I ask those businesses that are doing well at this time, and would otherwise benefit from this initiative, to keep paying tax as normal, so these funds can be used to assist other businesses.
“The McGowan Government will continue to look at ways it can provide relief to Western Australian businesses and households, as well as initiatives to assist the State’s economy in the recovery phase, post the peak of the coronavirus pandemic.”
Premier’s office – 6552 5000
Treasurer’s office – 6552 6100
- New ‘Stage 1’ social distancing directions in place across WA from 12 noon
- Facilities including pubs, bars, clubs, indoor sporting venues, cinemas, cultural institutions and places of worship to close immediately
- Restaurants and cafes restricted to takeaway
- As agreed at National Cabinet, WA schools to remain open until the end of term
Premier Mark McGowan has outlined immediate, severe changes that will be rolled out across the Western Australian community to assist in stopping the spread of COVID-19.
Following today’s State Disaster Council meeting, Mr McGowan outlined the Stage 1 restrictions on social gatherings that will come into effect from 12 noon, Monday, March 23.
These decisions are based on the best medical advice in the country. Western Australians can expect the restrictions could be in place for at least six months.
As the Prime Minister outlined, the following facilities will need to close:
- Pubs, bars and registered and licenced clubs
- Gyms and indoor sporting venues
- Cinemas, entertainment venues, and casinos
- Cultural institutions including libraries, museums, art galleries
- Funerals in enclosed spaces. Excludes very small groups and where the 1 person per 4 square metre of floor space rule applies
- Large religious gatherings and places of worship
Restaurants and cafes will be restricted to takeaway and home delivery.
As agreed by National Cabinet, Western Australian schools will remain open until the end of the current school term. The official medical advice is clear – closing schools is not currently recommended for Australia.
However, if parents decide to not send their kids to school, they will not face any of the usual consequences. The McGowan Government understands that parents have the right to make their own choice in this regard.
Mr McGowan urged those who decide to keep their children home to abide by all other laws, including all new social distances rules that have been introduced.
Across the public school system, resources will be provided if parents choose to keep their children home, so they have the option to continue with an education program for the remainder of the term.
Stage 2 of restrictions will be considered and can be rolled out as needed. Western Australians should expect that these will be more extreme and impact on their lives even more.
Comments attributed to Premier Mark McGowan:
“These measures have been put in place to protect all Western Australians. This is about saving lives. It’s as simple as that.
“Coming to this decision with the Prime Minister and other State Leaders was not something that that we wanted to be doing. These are not decisions that we have taken lightly. But these are necessary measures to protect us all, and they are based on the best medical advice in the nation.
“This stage of restrictions will change the Western Australian life as we know it and we might need to go further in the coming days, weeks and months.
“I understand that these measures could potentially be devastating for many businesses and their employees. My heart goes out to those people, who have built up their businesses from scratch and now have had their lives turned upside down.
“If we don’t go down this path, more and more people will be infected with COVID-19 and it will risk putting significant pressure on our health system.
“I thank those who are heeding the advice in regards to social distancing. Unfortunately, too many people in our community are disregarding these vital measures.
“By doing so, they are not just putting themselves at risk, they are putting the lives of older and vulnerable Australians at risk.
“Regarding schools, we will continue to make decisions based on the best medical advice in the nation. I understand that parents are concerned and may want to keep their kids home. We respect parents’ right to make this choice.
“I call on every West Australian to do the right thing. This means listening to the advice, following the rules and performing your civic duty as Western Australians.
“I want to again, thank those amazing Western Australians doing an incredible job, in trying circumstances. Our health workers, our teachers, our police, truck drivers, shop assistants, cleaners and bus drivers.
“You are serving our community in the most difficult circumstances.
“I stress again – we will get through this, if we work together as Western Australians.”
- A new COVID clinic opened at Armadale today to test for and detect cases of coronavirus
- A further clinic will open tomorrow in Rockingham and then in Midland and Joondalup on Wednesday
- Clinic staff will conduct tests, provide information and refer people for appropriate treatment if required
A new COVID clinic opened in Armadale today to boost testing capabilities for the virus in the Perth metropolitan area. Another new clinic will open in Rockingham on Tuesday followed by two additional COVID Clinics becoming operational in Midland and Joondalup on Wednesday.
COVID clinics are also in operation at Royal Perth Hospital, Fiona Stanley Hospital and Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital, and Bunbury Health Campus in the South-West.
All the new metro clinics will operate from 8am-8pm, seven days a week and will be staffed by doctors, nurses and administrative staff who will follow strict infection prevention protocols. They are located at:
- Armadale COVID Clinic: Ground floor of Armadale Health Service, 3056 Albany Highway Mount Nasura;
- Midland COVID Clinic: Front of St John of God Midland Hospital, access only via Yelverton Drive;
- Joondalup COVID Clinic: Ground floor Joondalup Hospital (Car park P4, Regents Park Road). Enter via outside walkway between Specialist Medical West and Physiotherapy Department; and
- Rockingham COVID Clinic: Rockingham General Hospital, Elanora Drive, Cooloongup. Take the first road entrance to the hospital and follow the signs.
A new COVID-19 clinic opened last Thursday at the Bunbury Health Campus, open from 10am-4pm every day.
The community is reminded that the clinics are not intended to replace the medical care available through their GP or at hospital emergency departments.
Members of the public can telephone the COVID-19 Health Information Line on 1800 020 080 for advice and find more information by visiting http://www.healthywa.wa.gov.au
Currently, people residing in country Western Australia who meet the testing criteria are able to present to one of the WA Country Health Service’s 100 hospitals and health services to be tested for suspected COVID-19.
They can also be tested at clinics operated by the Royal Flying Doctor Service, Aboriginal Medical Service or Silver Chain. They are not required to travel to the metropolitan area for testing.
Comments attributed to Health Minister Roger Cook:
“These additional clinics will assist us to have a clear picture of the incidence of COVID-19 in the community and to rapidly diagnose and care for people who are at higher risk of more severe illness with the advice and treatment that they need.
“The current COVID-19 testing regime in Western Australia is in line with national guidelines but I have asked the WA Health Department to review this and determine how we can accommodate a broadened criteria to test more people.
“We have been working closely across the system and with federal health authorities to increase the number of pathology testing kits, reagents and swabs available to cope with a surge in demand.”