'Not the Australian way': McGowan takes aim at NSW premier

·3-min read

West Australian premier Mark McGowan has called out NSW premier Gladys Berejiklian's remarks regarding the national cabinet's decision to cut back on international arrivals.

From July 14, only 3035 people will be able to enter Australia every week in order to take pressure off quarantine facilities. Previously, 6070 people were permitted entry weekly.

The decision was made at Friday's national cabinet meeting amid fears of a highly contagious coronavirus strain that plunged 12 million Australians into lockdown this week.

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said she was disappointed Australia will reduce the weekly number of international arrivals. Source: AAP Image

On Saturday, as NSW recorded 35 new locally-acquired Covid-19 cases, Ms Berejiklian said she was "disappointed" Australians stranded overseas will have to wait to come back home.

About 30,000 Australians remain abroad and are trying to fly back.

"The number of people coming home doesn't change the risk, this is a very transmissible variant, the Delta strain, as we call it," she told reporters on Saturday.

"I'm disappointed that the other state leaders didn't see fit to maintain the number of Aussies coming back home and that to me is a disappointment. 

"But of course we'll respect what the national cabinet decision was and move forward in that regard."

WA Premier Mark McGowan hit back at the NSW premier's comments during a media conference.

"Did she say that today?" Mr McGowan asked, to which to reporter confirmed.

WA Premier Mark McGowan
WA Premier Mark McGowan hit back at Gladys Berejiklian's comments regarding international arrivals. Source: AAP Image

"Well, she agreed to it. If she didn't agree to it she could have a different approach if she wanted to, but she agreed to it," he said. 

"You cannot go into the meeting and agree to something and come out and say you do not agree with it. It is not really the Australian way."

The WA premier also pointed out that thousands of Australians have been permitted to travel overseas, saying fewer people should be permitted to do so to reduce the threat of outbreaks in hotel quarantine.

"I have said repeatedly, I think we should have had fewer people leave Australia over this period because everyone that leaves joins the list to come back," he said.

WA premier thinks Sydney will be in lockdown for "weeks"

Mr McGowan confirmed Western Australia reported no new locally-acquired Covid-19 cases as Perth and Peel emerged from lockdown.

Until Tuesday, people in those areas will have to follow interim restrictions. 

He also defended the decision for enforcing the snap lockdown, calling out NSW's handling of the Bondi cluster.

Mr McGowan said his state was taking a "precautionary approach" and it is key people get vaccinated as soon as they possibly can.

"In terms of the steps we have taken over the course of the past week, I remind you all to look at Sydney," he said. 

"I expect their lockdown will go on for a long time. That is an area of probably five or 6 million people in lockdown for weeks and weeks on end. We have avoided that, and I want us to keep on avoiding that."

The cases in NSW have steadily grown each day this week and several exposure sites have been identified.

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