One premier has warned his government’s strict Covid-19 vaccine mandate will remain in place for years as long as he is the state leader.
West Australian Premier Mark McGowan has warned mandatory Covid-19 vaccinations will be around for years.
Jabs will be compulsory for about 75 per cent of the workforce in WA starting from January 1.
“The mandates will stay in place,” Mr McGowan told ABC radio on Monday.
“I can’t say what a future premier might do, but they’ll be in place for a very long time while I’m the premier.”
Asked if it would be a “couple of years”, Mr McGowan said that was a minimum.
“This will be a situation that exists for a long period of time, so people need to go and get vaccinated,” he said.
It comes as an unvaccinated police officer launched a Supreme Court challenge against the mandate on the alleged basis that the chief health officer had exceeded his powers under the Public Health Act.
But Mr McGowan said he was “very confidant” the state would win the case.
“The experience around Australia is whenever these rules have been challenged, the governments have been successful in enforcing the rules,” he said.
“The courts have sided with the public health orders under the public health acts and the other pieces of legislation.
“So we’re very confident that we’ll be successful.
“I just say to people … don’t throw your job away, particularly if you love it. Just go and get vaccinated.”
Mr McGowan has repeatedly indicated his government will reveal the date to reopen the state in December.
The emergence of the new Omicron variant might cause some complications, with the Premier describing it as “the great unknown”, but for now the plan remained on track.
“We will set a date (in) early December. Obviously, we’ll watch carefully what happens over the course of next week,” Mr McGowan said.
“The world has shut up borders to large parts of Africa, there’s been basically impacts on the share price, the World Health Organisation has urged everyone to be very cautious, they’re putting in new rules over east, so it’s a little bit unknown at this stage.”
Mr McGowan also confirmed he would join the Prime Minister and other leaders at a national cabinet meeting on Tuesday to discuss the new variant.
“I don’t know what’s going to happen with Omicron. Omicron didn’t exist until three days ago,” he said.
“So let’s just watch and see what the World Health Organisation and what our health advisers nationally (say).
“It may well be that Omicron spreads more rapidly but is not any more lethal, and therefore we can proceed as planned (with announcing a reopening date in December).”
Originally published as WA Premier Mark McGowan warns Covid-19 vaccine mandate will stay in place ‘for a very long time’