CANBERRA, Australia — Australia has been warned it faces a pressure cooker moment as state premiers urge a dramatic reduction in international arrivals to stop coronavirus outbreaks.
Labor premiers in Queensland, Victoria, and Western Australia are calling on Scott Morrison to reduce passenger caps.
“We are at a pressure cooker moment,” Annastacia Palaszczuk, Queensland Premier said to the reporters in Brisbane on June 29. Annastacia Palaszczuk is an Australian politician who has been the Premier of Queensland since 2015 and the Leader of the Labor Party in Queensland since 2012.
“Right across Australia, it’s like a pressure cooker.” Outbreaks of the contagious Delta variant have plunged more than 12 million Australians into lockdown.
Palaszczuk argues lower caps, ensuring arrivals are fully vaccinated and putting quarantine centers in regional areas will reduce the need to shut cities down.
New South Wales’ Liberal Premier Gladys Berejiklian said arrival caps were for the federal government to decide. “New South Wales will always do our fair share as we have done. We do it without complaint,” she told reporters in Sydney.
Berejiklian said about half of the people coming through Sydney ended up in other states. Gladys Berejiklian is an Australian politician serving as the 45th and current Premier of New South Wales and the Leader of the New South Wales Liberal Party.
“I’m interested that other premiers are complaining about what they have to do, but it’s far less to what New South Wales is doing.”
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews believes the caps should be temporarily halved with Western Australia’s Mark McGowan backing his colleague. Mark McGowan is an Australian Labor Party politician who has been Premier of Western Australia since 17 March 2017.
Australian Industry Group chief executive Innes Willox said further limiting international arrivals would ignore critical skill shortages. The Australian Industry Group, also called Ai Group, is an employers’ organization, whose members employ over 750,000 people throughout Australia.
“This would take us in precisely the wrong direction,” he said.
The major employer group is suggesting home quarantine with strict conditions and additional capacity as ways to bring in more workers.
Federal Labor health spokesman Mark Butler said premiers were best placed to judge appropriate arrival numbers.
He believes a reduction is likely given caps were cut during previous outbreaks.
“This would be a lot easier if we had purpose-built quarantine facilities in place, as we should have by now,” said Butler.
“If the prime minister had acted late last year, we’d be up and running with them right now.”
(Edited by Vaibhav Pawar and Ritaban Misra)
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