The Nationals WA say the State Government has left too many regional businesses in the dark about their immediate futures following the release of its phase two COVID-19 recovery plan.
Leader Mia Davies welcomed the easing of several restrictions from next Monday but called on the Premier to provide greater certainty to regional communities that will remain severely impacted by the measures.
“By setting up four new intrastate travel regions, the Government has left some districts unsure about when they can reopen for business,” Ms Davies said.
“Many regional communities are hoping visitors from Perth can help kick-start their businesses, particularly those in the tourism and hospitality sectors which have been crippled by border closures.
“While it is pleasing the South West can look forward to that return of trade, the Goldfields and Esperance, and our State’s north are still locked away.
“The onus is on the Premier to explain the rationale and health advice that’s been provided and underpinned his decision.”
Ms Davies called on the Premier to bring forward a review of phase two restrictions and, if backed by expert health advice, he should consider opening more regional borders.
She added the State Government’s much-anticipated recovery roadmap lacked the detail so many regional businesses were seeking.
“The Premier has only provided information for the next month without revealing the details of the health advice, or triggers for when those that are still cut off can expect further relaxation of the restrictions,” Ms Davies said.
“It means operators in the Gascoyne-Mid West-Pilbara, Kimberley and Goldfields-Esperance regions have no idea what markers have to be hit for them to prepare to reopen for business.
“Holiday-makers from the State’s south are still unsure whether they can book accommodation and tours in the north during July school holidays and others are asking if they should cancel their pre-booked trips.”
Ms Davies said the Premier had also resisted providing an assistance package for those hospitality and travel providers struggling to survive without the usual wave of visitors.
“With the regional borders likely to keep the seasonal influx of grey nomads and backpackers from the north for at least another month, small operators will go to the wall and services will disappear without financial aid from the State Government.”