Western Australia imposes mandatory COVID-19 vaccine order for over a million employees

Uncompliant employers could face fines of $100,000

Western Australia imposes mandatory COVID-19 vaccine order for over a million employees

Western Australia is expanding the state's vaccine mandate to a degree that Premier Mark McGowan said will "cover the majority of occupations and workforces within WA".

In the latest announcement from McGowan, he confirmed the mandate will be enforced in phases with two groups given a deadline to be double vaccinated, while a third portion will only be mandated in the event of a lockdown.

"The policy strengthens current mandates and covers the next groups of industries to be mandated, as well as a requirement for other critical workers to be vaccinated to be permitted to work in the event of a lockdown or similar restrictions," said McGowan.

The premier added that the mandate covers more than half of WA's workforce. The ABC predicted it would cover about 75% of the workforce and will apply to about 1.1 million workers.

The first group of employees are those in workplaces with a high risk of COVID-19 transmission. They need to get their first dose by December 1 and receive their second shot by December 31. Those workers include:

  • Border and air transport
  • Staff working or entering remote Aboriginal communities
  • Residential and non-residential community care services
  • Corrective services
  • WA Police
  • Fire and Emergency Services (excluding volunteers)
  • Abattoirs and meat processing

The following sectors have been added to the initial list of workers mandated to have had their jabs by the end of the year. Meanwhile, the second phase of the vaccine mandate covers "occupations deemed critical to the ongoing delivery of business and function of the community". Workers in the following sectors must receive their first dose by December 31 and be fully immunised against COVID-19 by January 31.

  • Supermarkets, groceries, bakeries
  • Restaurants, pubs, bars, or cafés
  • Post offices
  • Hardware stores
  • Childcare or family day care
  • Financial institutions
  • Critical infrastructure and services necessary to health, safety, and welfare of the community
  • Petrol stations, truck stops, and roadhouses
  • Public and commercial transport
  • Port operations
  • Commercial transport, freight, or logistics
  • Accommodation services at hotels, motels, and other accommodation facilities
  • Funeral or mortuary services
  • Building, maintenance, or construction

Teachers and staff at schools and boarding schools must be fully vaccinated by start of Term 1 in 2022, according to the announcement.

The last group of occupations will only be required to get vaccinated in case a lockdown or similar restrictions are imposed. They are the following:

  • Other click and collect retail
  • Bottle shops
  • Newsagents
  • Pet store
  • Wholesalers
  • Critical conveyancing and settlement agents
  • Government or local government services where remote work is not applicable
  • Some administrative services
  • Vehicle and mechanical repair services
  • Journalists and media services
  • Members of State Parliament and their staff
  • Roadside assistance workers
  • Critical forestry
  • Critical primary industries
  • Critical factories manufacturing, fabrication, and production.

According to McGowan, employees will need to present proof of vaccination to their employers, who will be tasked to record the evidence. Authorised officers will also carry out spot checks to ensure compliance.

"If relevant, employers that have unvaccinated staff working after the deadline run the risk of being fined up to $100,000," McGowan said. "Individual employees could also face a fine of up to $20,000."

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