Up to 100,000 fly-in, fly-out workers and others engaged in Western Australia’s resources sector will be required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by the beginning of January.
Premier Mark McGowan says the rules will apply to anyone involved in exploration, mining, the oil and gas industries, the wider resources sector and others who work in remote locations or operate critical infrastructure including rail services.
They will need to have had their first vaccine jabs by December 1.
The rules will also apply to any visitors to mining and exploration operations.
Mr McGowan said the timeline had been established after consultation with the resources sector and to give those involved a chance to get the necessary doses.
“The aim is clear. We want to protect workers and the wider community and their families,” the premier said.
“Our goal is also to protect our Aboriginal community and address the obvious risk posed by the movement of resources sector workers to and from regional and remote locations.”
Mr McGowan said the new measures were “tough” but necessary to protect workers, their families and regional towns.
He said it was also necessary to ensure ongoing operations of the state’s mining and resources sector which had helped fuel the national economy during the pandemic.
The directions are currently being drafted with an expectation the mining companies will be responsible for enforcing the new rules.
Some form of spot checks are also likely.
The mandate follows similar measures put in place for WA’s aged care, health, port and quarantine workers.
Tim Dornin – Australian Associated Press