McGowan rejects Hunt’s ‘vivid imagination’ on WA border changes

Mark McGowan has extended WA's COVID-19 gathering and mask restrictions to January 4.

Mark McGowan has extended WA's COVID-19 gathering and mask restrictions to January 4. Photo: AAP

Western Australian Premier Mark McGowan has lambasted federal Health Minister Greg Hunt for “making things up” after Mr Hunt claimed WA might bring forward its border opening in time for the Perth Ashes Test.

Mr Hunt sent the rumour mill into a spin on Sunday when he told the ABC’s Insiders that the WA government was considering bringing forward its date to reopen.

He said he thought the state might reopen to coincide with the Test, which is scheduled to start on January 14.

“We’d like to see Western Australia open as soon as possible,” Mr Hunt told Insiders on Sunday.

“It’s obviously a matter for them, it’s subject to their assessments.

“But we are hearing that they are considering bringing that forward to at least, well coincidentally, to time with the cricket.

“We’ll let them determine it. I want to see a Perth Test – fast, hard, bouncy wicket; last Test of the Ashes, it gives us our best chance.”

Greg Hunt WA border

Greg Hunt has not spoken to WA health authorities, according to the WA Premier. Photo: AAP

But on Monday Mr McGowan harshly dismissed Mr Hunt’s comments.

“I’ve never met Greg Hunt, I’ve never spoken to Greg Hunt, I wouldn’t know him if I met him,” he said.

“He has got a very vivid imagination. He has not spoken to the [WA] Health Minister.

“I would just urge the Commonwealth government to stop making things up.”

Last week, Mr McGowan said the state would open to domestic and international visitors only once it reached a 90 per cent double vaccination rate — expected in late January or early February.

An exact date will be set once the 80 per cent double vaccination rate is reached — expected to be in mid-December.

The fifth Ashes Test at Optus Stadium is scheduled to start on January 14, when WA is still expected to be shut to outsiders.

Mr McGowan said the state government had authorised no changes to border arrangements.

“No decision has been made,” he said.

“There is a conversation between police and health with Cricket Australia, and cricket would have to abide by the health requirements put in place.

“We have put in place very strong measures over the last two years for cricket and sporting teams and cricket needs to abide by it.”

– with AAP

Stay informed, daily
A FREE subscription to The New Daily arrives every morning and evening.
The New Daily is a trusted source of national news and information and is provided free for all Australians. Read our editorial charter
Copyright © 2024 The New Daily.
All rights reserved.