The continuation of essential freight and supplies is being prioritised by the Western Australian Government as it monitors the deteriorating situation on the east coast where supply chain mayhem was impacting supermarkets.
Supply and freight movement challenges being felt in WA were identified last week following a meeting between the Freight and Logistics Council and State Government.
As the Government looked to practical measures that could help alleviate these issues, curfews on the times vehicles could deliver to supermarkets were said to be an ongoing point of focus.
In 2020, Transport and Planning Minister Rita Saffioti approved planning changes under the State of Emergency to provide exemptions to vehicle operating hours to allow the supply of essential goods and services to supermarkets 24/7.
In a major failing of governance it is understood some local governments may not have been operating under these rules.
The Western Australian Local Government Association (WALGA) will reiterate and communicate this policy to local governments, with vehicles able to arrive, load and unload at supermarkets 24/7, which will assist in keeping shelves stocked.
The State Government will continue to work with industry and key stakeholders, with further meetings planned.
Transport and Planning Minister Rita Saffioti said the Government was aware Western Australians were concerned about the impact the pandemic is having on freight and supply chains, particularly with what is happening on the east coast of the country.
“Ensuring trucks can move and deliver items to shopping centres will assist with the smooth flow of essential products and ensure our supermarkets remain stocked,” she said in a statement.
“I know people are anxious, but there is no need to buy any more goods than you normally would. We will continue to engage with industry and stakeholders on our supply chains,” said Saffioti.
“In 2020 when the effects of COVID were beginning to be felt, we made changes to planning and development regulations to ensure the continuation of essential public services in a State of Emergency.”
One of these changes included the removal of curfews on the times vehicles could make deliveries to supermarkets.
“Local governments are aware that this policy is still in effect and trucks can deliver essential goods to stores 24/7, meaning we can keep our shelves stocked and provide essentials,” Saffioti said.
“We are examining a range of other measures to ensure we keep trucks and freight running and essential supplies available.”
Meanwhile Premier Mark McGowan has retracted the quarantine-free travel date of 5 February in an extraordinary media conference overnight.
With Western Australia set to reconnect with the rest of the country McGowan said it would be “reckless and irresponsible to open up now”, delaying reopening indefinitely.
After nearly two years of some of the most extreme border lockdowns in the world quarantine-free travel according to McGowan would, if commenced as planned, be akin to “deliberately seeding thousands upon thousands of COVID cases into WA”.
An exemption criteria has, however been expanded to permit interstate and international arrivals including those travelling on compassionate grounds.
Interstate arrivals must be triple-dose vaccinated, return a negative pre-departure rapid antigen test and undertake 14 days self-quarantine.