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Western Australian Government introduces strict COVID vaccine mandate for high risk and critical occupations

Western Australian Government introduces strict COVID vaccine mandate for high risk and critical occupations
October 22, 2021

The Western Australian Government is to roll out what has been described as the toughest vaccine mandate in the country, which will require 75% of the workforce to be inoculated against COVID-19.

The policy, covering more than 1 million workers, has been announced as vaccination rates rise in the state.

Covering around 75% of the Western Australia’s workforce, it mandates that workers in high risk and critical occupations along with those in sectors that would impacted by another lockdown must be fully vaccinated by 31st January 2022.

Employers will face fines of up to $100,000 if they have unvaccinated staff working after the deadline.

Under the requirements, leisure industry employees in restaurants, pubs, bars, cafes, public and commercial transport, hotels, motels and other accommodation providers will be required to be fully vaccinated.

However, no mention is made of workers in aquatic, fitness and sport facilities; theatres and entertainment; parks and recreation services; museums and galleries; and amusement parks, social entertainment centres and waterparks.

This would suggest that workers in these sectors are not deemed ‘essential’ and also means that employers in these sectors will be unable to insist staff are vaccinated.

While the Chamber of Commerce and Industry WA supported the mandate, Chief Executive, Chris Rodwell warned “(a fine of) $100,000 could end a business.”

In addition for those employers in sectors not mandated for vaccination, it raises many uncertainties, for example, can unvaccinated staff interact with patrons, members or guests?: or in an emergency, what would the situation with an unvaccinated staff member administering cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).

It also again undermines the status of many sectors of the leisure industry.

However, as reported by the ABC, Jaffle Shack owner Christian Watters, who runs six cafes across Perth and Geraldton, his fear is that in a market where staff are hard to find, he might lose staff while morale would also be impacted.

Watters, who said he was vaccinated and supported vaccination, was concerned he would lose some staff who did not want to get the shot, and he felt deeply uncomfortable about asking people for their medical documentation.

Watters told the ABC “the biggest is going to be being forced to discriminate against members of my team who for reasons that are their own are not getting vaccinated.

"They are otherwise doing a great job and I am going to be forced to let them go.”

In tourism, a recent industry survey showed more than 70% of businesses supported Western Government mandating vaccination requirements rather than it being left to businesses to implement their own vaccination policy.

Welcoming the announcement, saying it provided clarity for the industry on what was required of them when it came to vaccination, Tourism Council WA Chief Executive, Evan Hall stated “the mandatory COVID-19 vaccination requirements announced today by the Premier provides clarity and a level playing field for businesses.

“We look forward to consulting with the State Government on tourism businesses not covered by today’s announcement. There are a range of tourism operators and staff who will be in contact with guests, eventually from interstate and overseas, which are not explicitly covered by the announcement, such as tour guides, event employees and staff working in attractions.”

Western Australian COVID vaccine mandate

High Risk Occupations
First dose by 1st December, second dose by 31st December

  • Cross-border freight (road and rail) workers - high and extreme risk locations only
  • Remaining public and private hospitals and public healthcare facilities
  • Primary and community health
  • On-site resources sector
  • Border and air transport
  • Staff working in or entering remote Aboriginal communities
  • Residential and non-residential community care services including in relation to: disability, mental health, homelessness, drug and alcohol services, child protection, family and domestic violence, Aboriginal peoples
  • Corrective services
  • Remaining WA Police
  • Fire and Emergency Services (excluding volunteers)
  • Abattoirs and meat processing

Critical Occupations
First dose by 31st December, second dose by 31st January 2022

  • Supermarkets, grocery, bakery
  • Restaurant, pub, bar or café
  • Post office
  • Hardware store
  • Childcare or family day care
  • School or boarding school - before Term One of 2022
  • Financial institution
  • Critical infrastructure and services necessary for health, safety and welfare of the community, any person, animal or premises e.g. utilities and veterinary clinic
  • Petrol station, truck stops and roadhouses
  • Public and commercial transport
  • Remaining port operations
  • Remaining commercial transport, freight or logistics
  • Hotel, motel or other accommodation facility to provide accommodation services
  • Funeral or mortuary services
  • Building, maintenance or construction

In the event of lockdown
Other click and collect retail

  • Bottle shop
  • Newsagent
  • Pet store
  • Wholesaler
  • Critical conveyancing and settlement agents
  • Roadside assistance
  • Critical forestry
  • Critical primary industries
  • Critical factories, manufacturing, fabrication and production
  • Government or local government services where working from home is not possible
  • Some administrative services
  • Vehicle and mechanical repair service
  • Journalistic and media services
  • Members and staff of Members of Parliament of Western Australia
  • Roadside assistance
  • Critical forestry
  • Critical primary industries
  • Critical factories, manufacturing, fabrication and production

Related Articles

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1st October 2021 - Victorian Premier announces COVID vaccines will be mandatory for all essential workers in the state

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28th September 2021 - Gym reopening in ‘a to vaccinate or not vaccinate’ world

27th September 2021 - Tourism Council WA launches campaign encouraging vaccinations for summer peak

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16th September 2021 - As vaccination rates increase ActiveXchange advises of COVID trends to empower decision making

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10th September 2021 - VenuesLive steps up recruitment drive for Optus Stadium hospitality staff

10th September 2021 - Australian Vaccine Passports potentially ready within weeks

8th September 2021 - Humanforce offers hospitality sector a solution to help manage COVID-19 vaccination policies

6th September 2021 - 90% of aquatic facility owners, operators and staff heading towards becoming fully vaccinated

5th September 2021 - Staff shortages result in long F&B queues during AFL semi-final at Perth’s Optus Stadium

31st August 2021 - AFL 2021 Grand Final to be played at Perth’s Optus Stadium

29th August 2021 - What employers need to consider about vaccinations for staff and consumers

22nd August 2021 - New assistance grants announced for Western Australian tourism businesses impacted by COVID-19

12th August 2021 - Western Australia tourism devastated as visitors locked down

11th August 2021 - Australian Tourism Industry Council delivers three-point tourism, events and hospitality plan to recover from lockdowns

5th August 2021 - Grants available to boost healthier sporting clubs across Western Australia

16th July 2021 - Live Nation expands Western Australian operations with acquisition of Mellen Events

8th July 2021 - VMA says Australia getting vaccinated is the key to live entertainment industry’s road to recovery

7th July 2021 - With swim schools facing permanent closure industry leader calls for learn-to-swim services to be classed as an essential service

23rd June 2021 - Crowds to return to Melbourne stadia as capacity limits removed for events and venues in Western Australia

2nd May 2021 - Coronavirus fears sees fans barred from AFL western derby at Perth’s Optus Stadium

20th April 2021 - Optus Stadium welcomes largest Australian sports crowd since before Coronavirus

8th December 2020 - Tourism boost expected to follow reopening of Western Australian border to NSW and Victoria

30th August 2020 - Fitness Australia calls for Victorian Government to reclassify health and fitness facilities as an ‘essential service’ 

11th May 2020 - Tourism Council WA welcomes tourism recovery guidelines

23rd April 2020 - Tourism Council Western Australia highlights significant job and revenue losses

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