Legislation update

Further COVID-19 vaccination policies for Western Australia

Paul Harley, Andrew Tobin, and Kailan Durrant / 21 October 2021

Premier Mark McGowan has announced a further mandatory COVID-19 vaccination policy for the majority of occupations and workforces in Western Australia (WA). 

The policy follows the existing mandates in place for workers in high-risk industries, such as FIFO workers, ports, transport, freight and logistics, healthcare and aged care, where it is necessary to avoid catastrophic risk to the safety of the community. 

The policy will be introduced to the following groups in a phased approach.

Group 1 – High risk occupations

Employees are required to receive their first dose by 1 December 2021 and be fully vaccinated by 31 December 2021.

High risk occupations include:

  • cross-border freight (road and rail) workers; 
  • remaining public and private hospitals and public healthcare facilities;
  • primary and community health;
  • on-site resources sector;
  • border and air transport;
  • staff working in or entering remote Aboriginal communities;
  • residential and non-residential community care services including in relation to: disability, mental health, homelessness, drug and alcohol services, child protection, family and domestic violence, Aboriginal peoples;
  • corrective services;
  • remaining WA Police;
  • fire and Emergency Services (excluding volunteers); and
  • abattoirs and meat processing. 

Group 2 – Critical occupations

Employees are required to receive their first dose by 31 December 2021 and fully vaccinated by 31 January 2022:

Critical occupations include:

  • supermarkets, grocery, bakery;
  • restaurant, pub, bar or café;
  • post office;
  • hardware store;
  • child care or family day care;
  • school or boarding school;
  • financial institution;
  • critical infrastructure and services necessary for health, safety and welfare of the community, any person, animal or premises e.g. utilities and veterinary clinic;
  • petrol station, truck stops and roadhouses;
  • public and commercial transport;
  • remaining port operations;
  • remaining commercial transport, freight or logistics;
  • hotel, motel or other accommodation facility to provide accommodation services;
  • funeral or mortuary services; and
  • building, maintenance or construction.

Group 3 – Occupations in the event of a lockdown

Employees must be fully vaccinated to attend work during a lockdown or similar restrictions.

Occupations include:

  • bottle shop;
  • newsagent;
  • pet store;
  • wholesaler;
  • critical conveyancing and settlement agents;
  • roadside assistance;
  • critical forestry;
  • critical primary industries;
  • critical factories, manufacturing, fabrication and production;
  • government or local government services where working from home is not possible;
  • some administrative services;
  • vehicle and mechanical repair service;
  • journalistic and media services;
  • members and staff of Members of Parliament of Western Australia;
  • roadside assistance;
  • critical forestry;
  • critical primary industries; and
  • critical factories, manufacturing, fabrication and production.

Employers that are found to have unvaccinated staff working after the deadline could be fined up to $100,000, while individual employees face a $20,000 penalty.

If you would like to discuss your obligations in implementing necessary systems for compliance with the directions, please contact us. 

For further information regarding what employers should consider before mandating COVID-19 vaccinations for sectors not covered by a direction, read our previous article No jab, no job? What employers might consider before mandating COVID-19 vaccinations in workplaces.

Paul Harley
Paul is a Partner and the head of our leading Resources and Energy practice in Perth.
Andrew Tobin
Andrew is a Partner and the head of HopgoodGanim Lawyers’ Workplace and Employment practice.
Kailan Durrant
Kailan is an Associate in our Resources and Energy team.

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