NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian has said she would be “disappointed” if Western Australia decided not to take it’s full share of returning travellers in need of quarantine.
The federal government has accepted a Western Australian request to halve the amount of returning travellers the state is expected to put in hotel isolation until May 30, as the state battles a COVID-19 outbreak in Perth.
But Premier Mark McGowan said over the weekend he would be “reluctant” to return to the full 1025 people per week capacity that the state had previously committed to.
Asked about his comments on Monday, Ms Berejiklian said that state and territory leaders should “get on with it and do the job”.
“We have to unfortunately, in a pandemic, accept these things are going to happen, get on top of them as soon as we can, deal with them as best we can, but know there is always going to be that risk and challenge,” Ms Berejiklian said.
“Every time you do have an outbreak or a challenge it is not really healthy to have these blame games.”
She said if other jurisdictions didn’t honour their commitments, it would put extra pressure on her state.
“I would be very disappointed if, because of an incident, a premier decided they didn’t want to take as many people – welcome as many people home – because it does put extra pressure on NSW.”
Mr McGowan said in his remarks on Sunday his government would need Commonwealth help to continue to meet its quarantine goal.
“If the Commonwealth is unable to assist with proper quarantine facilities, I am reluctant to return to the full 1025 per week cap,” Mr McGowan said.
“That weekly number of returning residents is not something that can continue long-term without proper Commonwealth quarantine facilities being used.”
Defence Minister Peter Dutton rejected the idea while speaking to ABC’s Insiders program on Sunday, saying neither air force bases nor Christmas Island were “fit for purpose”.
“If you are talking about tented facilities, which you would need, our air bases don‘t hold thousands of people,” Mr Dutton said.
Perth and the nearby Peel region went into a three-day lockdown on Saturday after an incident of community transmission between two people who ate at a restaurant.