• WA Premier Mark McGowan will be introducing a number of new bills to stop isolation breaches and keep the WA community safe during the COVID pandemic. (AAP)Source: AAP
Western Australia is ramping up its efforts to stop isolation breaches and keep the community safe during the COVID pandemic.
Rangi Hirini

31 Mar 2020 - 11:04 AM  UPDATED 1 Sep 2020 - 1:33 PM

On Tuesday, WA Premier Mark McGowan will introduce several new bills to stop people breaking self-isolation and social distancing rules. These new measures include electronic tracking devices, criminal charges for assaulting or threatening to assault frontline officers, and fines for failure to social distance.

Premier McGowan said it's vital these amendments are passed urgently and is asking Parliamentarians to consider these amendments on their merits.

"People who deliberately show disregard by putting our frontline workers at grave risk or fail to self-isolate as required and putting others in the community at risk, will not be tolerated and will face the full force of the law and harsh penalties," Mr McGowan said in a statement.

"We are in extraordinary times, and we need to take extraordinary measures," he said.

The Emergency Management Amendment (COVID-19 Response) Bill 2020 will allow authorities to make an individual who fails to comply to self-isolation rules wear an electronic device or direct that an electronic device be installed at a person's residence.

Anyone who fails to comply or removes or interferes with the electronic device without a reasonable excuse faces a penalty of a $12,000 fine or 12 months' imprisonment.

The Criminal Code Amendment (COVID-19 Response) Bill 2020 will be introduced to create an offence for anyone who knowingly has COVID-19, or says they have COVID-19, and assaults, or threatens to injure or harm frontline workers.

Frontline workers include police officers, doctors, nurses or anyone working in a hospital or health service, firefighters, SES and ambulance officers.

Offenders who are found guilty of assault will face up to 10 years in prison, and offenders who threaten assault will face up to seven years imprisonment.

WA Police are now using drones in public places to implement the new two-person social distancing rule.

There will also be urgent legislation introduced for on-the-spot fines $1,000 fines for individuals and $5,000 fines for businesses who disobey self-isolation or public gathering.

These extraordinary new laws will only be used during the State of Emergency and will be repealed after 12 months.

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