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WA Prime Minister Mark McGowan has given the Morrison government and the COVID-hit eastern states a new broadside, saying he will “not be pressured by some from the East to dismantle our border controls”.

He said he would open the border with NSW, Victoria and the ACT when it was safe and “I wouldn’t expect this to be until next year”.

WA Prime Minister Mark McGowan says he may not reopen his state’s borders with NSW, Victoria and the ACT until next year.Credit:Peter de Kruijff

The WA Labor leader said he knew this position would lead to “people in NSW, commentators and the like yelling and shouting that we should stop and infect ourselves as soon as possible.

“I don’t understand this logic and I will resist it.”

He said it was “insane” to open borders once 70 percent of Western Australians over the age of 16 are fully vaccinated, highlighting the highly contagious nature of the delta coronavirus strain.

“I think the national plan [for easing restrictions in line with vaccination rates of 70 per cent and above] needs to be changed to reflect this reality, ”he said on a COVID-19 update on Friday.

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“If someone wants to go in the direction of NSW, they have stones in their heads. I don’t want to go in that direction.

“I am not being pressured by some from the East to dismantle our border controls with COVID countries contrary to the health recommendations.

“Different states are in different positions. A one-size-fits-all approach doesn’t work. “

Mr McGowan said he believed the right approach is that if WA is still COVID-free and the state has achieved vaccination rates of over 80 percent of the population over the age of 16, “then we will set a date” for the case the limits. The announcement could be made six weeks before a reopening, he said.

“This is a great incentive for people who are not vaccinated at this point to go out and get vaccinated. I think that’s the right approach, ”he said.

Mr McGowan said a 90 percent vaccination rate was very high and he was not sure if that level had been reached anywhere in the world.

He said the border would be reopened in a very safe, gradual and careful manner and he couldn’t understand why any commentators were “yelling at” the WA government.

“Our economy is the strongest in the country. We produce 60 percent of the country’s exports. Where would you be without us? NSW is closed. “

Mr McGowan said that while commentators regularly said the Delta variant of COVID-19 cannot be defeated, five jurisdictions in Australia had done it at least once.

He said that while this may not be possible in WA in the future, “my goal is to do my best to keep it out”.

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