Mark McGowan has directed his most vicious tirade to date towards NSW as the state battles record case numbers, while his own citizens suffer under strict rules.
The Western Australia Premier had a few choice words for NSW’s handling of the pandemic when asked what he thought about its record 11,201 new Covid cases on Wednesday, saying it was ‘good’ to watch the state to learn ‘what not to do’.
Dominic Perrottet has introduced a modest handful of restrictions in response to surging infections and recently encouraged residents to attend New Years celebrations, hoping to revive the slumping hospitality sector.
Disparately, Mr McGowan has cancelled large events, banned all dancing except for at weddings and ordered revellers to wear masks indoors with only seated service – despite WA recording just two new cases on Wednesday.
During a Covid update on Wednesday, a disdainful Mr McGowan took the opportunity to criticise NSW for its high case numbers and eased restrictions.
West Australian Premier Mark McGowan (pictured) had a few choice words for NSW’s handling of the pandemic when asked what he thought about the state’s 11,201 new Covid cases
‘The good thing about watching New South Wales is you can learn what not to do,’ he said.
‘They’ve chopped and changed on masks, they’ve chopped and changed on everything, really.
‘By watching New South Wales you can see what works and what doesn’t work. Generally what they do doesn’t work, so you operate on the basis – “don’t do what New South Wales does”.’
The spray comes after the NSW premier in October called Mr McGowan ‘the gollum of politics’ after the isolated state recorded a $5.6billion budget surplus, partly due to GST revenue from mining.
‘Mark McGowan is the Gollum of Australian politics,’ Mr Perrottet told Sky News before he was even confirmed as the state’s new leader.
NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet (pictured) has introduced a handful of restrictions in response to surging infections and recently encouraged residents to attend New Years celebrations
Mr McGowan’s commentary of NSW’s handling of the pandemic comes on the eve of an emergency national cabinet meeting (pictured, residents enjoy the view in Sydney on Tuesday)
‘You can just picture him over there in his cave with his “little precious” – the GST.’
Mr McGowan responded by stating he would fight to the death to protect WA’s GST revenue, adding NSW has ‘a terrible set of finances, massive deficits, huge debt’.
Mr McGowan’s commentary of NSW’s handling of the pandemic comes on the eve of an emergency national cabinet meeting called by Prime Minister on Wednesday.
The snap meeting is expected to focus on testing queues and isolation requirements, after Australia recorded more than 18,000 cases.
NSW Health recently moved to scrap the seven-day isolation period for close contacts meaning they only have to isolate until they return a negative test.
Under the sweeping new changes, priority testing will be given to ‘clinically urgent’ patients – with people lining up for a tourism test ordered to ‘get out the queue’.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison (pictured) called an emergency cabinet meeting to be held with all state premiers on Thursday to discuss testing queues and isolation requirements
Only ‘a small number’ of exposed people – such as healthcare workers – will now be ordered into self-isolation after close contact with a Covid-positive person.
Mr Morrison said the definition of a close contact could change to someone who is a household contact of a confirmed case only – or someone who has spent four hours with a positive case in an aged-care facility.
The emergency meeting will also look holistically at the ‘Omicron effect’ and the impacts surging caseloads are having on health workers and testing facilities.
State and federal governments have come under fire this week for not sufficiently preparing for the onslaught of testing over the summer holidays.
Thousands were forced to spend Christmas alone after being forced to wait over 72 hours for test results along with a diminishing supply of rapid antigen tests.
The snap meeting is expected to focus on testing queues and isolation requirements, after Australia recorded more than 18,000 cases (pictured, residents in Perth on Christmas Eve)
Mr Perrottet recently moved to scrap the seven-day isolation period for close contacts meaning they only have to isolate until a negative test result (pictured, Sydney residents)
Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese accused the prime minister of allowing the testing delays by not quickly acquiring millions of rapid antigen tests.
‘It is easier to get a ticket to the AFL grand final than get a test in some parts of Australia,’ he said.
‘Australians are doing the right thing but Scott Morrison and his government are once again showing a lack of leadership.
‘We have the NSW Government trying to purchase rapid antigen test that will be available, wait for it, at the end of January, when we have a crisis right now.’
Cases in NSW almost doubled overnight from 6,062 on Tuesday to 11,201 on Wednesday, with 625 in hospital, 61 in ICU, and three more deaths.
Cases in NSW almost doubled overnight from 6,062 on Tuesday to 11,201 on Wednesday, with 625 in hospital, 61 in ICU, and three more deaths (pictured, health workers at Bondi Beach)
The emergency meeting will also look holistically at the ‘Omicron effect’ and the impacts surging caseloads are having (pictured, people queue for a test in Sydney’s CBD)
Meanwhile, WA’s two cases have been identified as a close contact of a person who attended an event at Northbridge’s Mess Hall ten days ago and another backpacker.
Mr McGowan said 704 close contacts of the backpacker had now been identified, with 50 people still to be tested.
The hardline premier defended the introduction of tough restrictions just days out from New Years Eve despite the low number of cases.
‘The alternative was to shut down everything, and we didn’t want to do that, so we selected events that were high-risk events where people dance in close proximity, like the Mess Hall event, and we’ve done our best to come up with a reasonable set of rules,’ he said.
‘Having a low number of cases is good, and shows our measures have worked.’
Sydneysiders are seen enjoying the sunshine over Christmas (pictured) as NSW learns to live with soaring Covid cases