You may have recently heard that the State Budget included an assumption date by Treasury on the lifting of WA’s hard border.
I want to be very clear about this: the WA Government position has not changed.
We will lift the border when the health advice says it is safe to do so.
The date mentioned in the budget was an assumption made only by Treasury, not our health experts, and for Budget purposes only.
As we've always said, the removal of our hard border will depend on the health advice we receive from the Chief Health Officer - with our experts keeping a close eye on the situation over east.
I know many people would like me to provide a date on when the border could come down, but right now, based on our health advice, that is not possible.
I understand the concerns many people have, especially those who want to be able to see family from over east – my parents both live in New South Wales and right now, our only communication is over the phone.
But I want to assure everyone, that the border is in place to protect every Western Australian and keep our State safe and strong.
The figures in the Budget we delivered on Thursday did show one thing emphatically:
An outbreak of COVID-19 would be absolutely devastating for our State's economy and for WA jobs.
The budget figures we were able to hand down were very encouraging. Our State has weathered this global crisis as well as anywhere, if not the best in the world, and we are leading the nation on virtually all economic statistics.
This economic success is because we were able to open up our economy and lift restrictions faster than expected.
As a result our community has been confident that they are safe, they've been confident to go out, spend their money which helps support and create local jobs.
Treasury has done the work to estimate the damage that could be done if we were to see an outbreak now, and the numbers aren't pretty.
It would cost our local economy $5.6 billion dollars.
It would destroy at least 30,000 WA jobs.
And that's not to mention the lives and health of Western Australians that the virus would claim.
We simply can’t afford that – it would be a catastrophe.
Throughout this pandemic, we've followed the expert health advice and taken the action we needed to protect Western Australia.
It has paid off for our State's health, and it has paid off for local workers.
Now is not the time to make a rushed decision, and turn around and ignore that health advice, that has kept us safe.
I know the hard border has been difficult for many Western Australians - especially those of us with family and friends interstate.
I can promise you that the hard border will not last longer than it needs to - but until then it is crucial that we see this through.
And keep WA, safe and strong.