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Jan 21, 2022
Anglicare WA CEO Mark Glasson has welcomed the overnight announcement by Premier Mark McGowan to postpone the reopening of the Western Australian border.

He said the decision to limit arrivals into the state from 5 February, ensures our most vulnerable are protected.

“Similar to the state’s health system, our social services across Western Australia are already under pressure, with demand for assistance returning to levels seen at the start of the pandemic; they would not have coped with a further surge in demand,” said Mr Glasson.

“We know from our colleagues in the eastern states, many services there have been brought to breaking point and may have to close their doors and turn away people in desperate need of their support. Omicron has reduced workforces by more than 20 percent across the disability, homeless and aged care sectors.” 

Mr Glasson said the impact of this pandemic has not been equally shared.

“The poor, the homelessness, the aged – our most vulnerable – have borne the brunt of this virus. Deaths due to COVID-19 have been almost four times higher amongst people in the lowest socioeconomic group, compared to the highest.” 

“Charities in WA were bracing for increased demand for emergency relief and food assistance after 5 February from casual and contract workers, as their incomes were suddenly reduced from having to isolate due to COVID-19, or businesses closing due to staff shortages.

“By keeping our borders closed for a while longer, we can ensure the systems, resources and staff are in place to protect our vulnerable, aged, homeless, those with disability, and single parents with no support when children get sick.

“We can ensure there is ample access to RATs and PPE to maintain a strong frontline workforce to support all Western Australians, from all walks of life.

“We look forward to working in partnership with the McGowan government to preparing our social service system to be ready for the return of COVID-19 in the community.

“Western Australia will eventually re-open its borders to the rest of Australia and international community, however by proceeding in a gradual and staged manner – while frustrating for some – will ensure a safe transition for many more.” 

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