Up to 75 per cent of Western Australia’s workforce will be subject to a jab mandate as Premier Mark McGowan moves to increase vaccine uptake before the state’s hard borders are removed.
Mr McGowan said on Tuesday that his government would continue to “rollout new measures” to boost the double dose vaccination rate which currently sits at more than 55 per cent.
The Premier unveiled the broad vaccine scheme on Wednesday, arguing that mandates were “about protecting Western Australia”.
“Border controls will not be forever. When the time is right, and our vaccination rate is high enough border controls will ease further and we need to ensure our key workforces are protected,” he said.
“Mandatory vaccination is about protecting Western Australia, it is about protecting and safeguarding our essential services and businesses for the long term.”
Mandates on industries such as the resources sector, freight and logistics, hospitals and primary and community health had already been announced by the McGowan government with workers required to be fully jabbed by the end of the year and receive one dose by December 1.
This group was extended to include corrective services, WA Police and fire and emergency services – excluding volunteers – abattoirs, residential and non-residential community services, border control and staff working or entering remote Aboriginal communities.
A second group which ranges from supermarket, grocery store, bakery and hospitality workers to post offices, day care, schools, accommodation services and construction will be required to have their first vaccine by the end of the year and be fully vaccinated by the end of January.
School staff will need to be fully vaccinated before the start of term one next year.
A third group was also identified as workers who were “important to the functioning of our community” who will need to be vaccinated to attend work in the event of a lockdown or similar restrictions.
This group includes those employed in bottle shops, news agents, pet stores, wholesalers, government or local government services, mechanical repairs, roadside assistance, primary industries, manufacturing, media and Members of Parliament and their staff.
“This group is deemed to be important to the functioning of our community and is at a different transmission risk to the first two groups mandated,” Mr McGowan said.
Mr McGowan said penalties will apply for both employers and employees who fail to comply with the mandate.
Fines of up to $100,000 dollars will be dealt to relevant employers who have workers that are unvaccinated after the deadline, while employees could be slapped with a $25,000 infringement notice.
The mandate is expected to cover 75 per cent of the state’s total workforce.