COVID-19 coronavirus: Setting the scene

A high level overview of WA’s recovery approach and how planning and implementation will evolve over time.

The Premier has appointed the Public Sector Commissioner, Sharyn O’Neill, as the State Recovery Controller who is responsible for developing, coordinating and overseeing the recovery process. 


Get Western Australia back on the road to becoming a thriving and innovative community to live, work, visit and do business in. 


Return Western Australia to a proper level of functioning following the COVID-19 pandemic, alongside opportunities for enhancement where they lead to increased resilience, efficiencies and effectiveness.  


  • Reboot our economy to get back onto the pre-pandemic growth trajectory as quickly as possible. 
  • Regroup our community at a personal, family and social level so people feel healthy and have the confidence to lead active lives. 
  • Rethink our future to lead us to the next normal.   

Phases of recovery 

There are 3 phases of recovery:  

  1. Controlled reopening and relaxation - cautious relaxing and/or lifting of the specific restrictions that have been brought about through the Emergency Management Act 2005. It includes reopening some aspects of the domestic economy and the community in a controlled manner that is monitored closely. All decisions are in line with the best health advice for Western Australia.
  2. Careful restarting and stimulating - a progressive shift to stimulating business and the community to come out of hibernation, initially using the levers available to the Government. It includes bringing forward creative ideas and early wins for Western Australians.
  3. Progressive reforming and transforming - using the opportunities provided by the pandemic to bring forward more courageous ideas for change and improvement. Old rules and regulations are re-evaluated and technologies that worked well in the crisis become permanent options. It’s about future-proofing Western Australia for resilience and sustainability.

Recovery areas 

We’re focussed on 5 recovery areas: 

  1. Health - ensuring the community’s physical and mental health, strengthening the health system’s capability and capacity, and being ready to respond to outbreaks or surges in COVID-19 cases. 
  2. Economic and infrastructure - addressing the sustainability, competitiveness and viability of the economy supports recovery across all areas. Stimulating and supporting infrastructure generates employment opportunities and avenues for industry engagement and investment.
  3. Social - effective social recovery is the foundation for enabling recovery in all aspects of the community. Restoring community cohesion and resilience improve quality of life and the social fabric of Western Australia, with a particular focus on vulnerable people. Active engagement in arts, culture, education, sport and recreation builds community strength. 
  4. Industry - restoring the confidence of business and industry supports economic recovery and growth. It provides the platform for new and emerging industry diversification while harnessing WA’s rich innovative and research community. 
  5. Regions - revitalising the regions through business development, community resilience initiatives, local engagement and leveraging opportunities for diverse industry and local jobs.

Guiding principles 

Our principles are adapted from the National Principles for Disaster Recovery to reflect the unique context generated through the COVID-19 pandemic in WA: 

  • Understand the context – recovery planning is based on understanding the impacts of the pandemic. 
  • Recognise complexity - an iterative approach to recovery planning and implementation, measuring success along the way.
  • Use community-led approaches – partner with the community through business, industry, the not for profit sector, unions, the public sector and local government to shape plans and actions. 
  • Coordinate all activities - coordinate work through the 5 recovery areas and their interdependencies in partnership with our stakeholders. 
  • Communicate effectively - run a multi-faceted communications campaign to keep the community informed and bring them along the journey of recovery. 


Page reviewed 28 May 2020