COVID-19 coronavirus: Western Australian Government response

Find out what the WA Government is doing to support the Western Australian community and economic recovery through COVID-19.

Last updated: 27 May 2020 at 10.12am

The WA Government has declared a Public Health Emergency and a State of Emergency for Western Australia as part of the response to COVID-19. 

The WA Government's approach is based on evidence and expert advice.

A National Cabinet made up of all leaders across the nation was established on 13 March 2020, to address COVID-19 from federal and state government levels. Detailed information about COVID-19 is available on the Department of Health’s website.

Business and industry

Find out about financial relief measures for business and industry.

Household support

The WA Government has introduced measures to provide relief to Western Australian families to respond to COVID-19:

  • a freeze on increases to all household tariffs, fees and charges effective 1 July 2020
  • doubling of the Energy Assistance Payment in 2020-21 to $610, to provide additional support to vulnerable Western Australians
  • no utility disconnections
  • alternative tax payment arrangements
  • help for Keystart customers experiencing hardship
  • payments in response to COVID-19 won’t be included in eligibility assessments or rent calculations for social housing.

For more information see the  support for households in response to COVID-19 fact sheet.

Tenants and landlords 

$30 million committed for grants of up to $2000 for residential tenants who have lost their job and are facing financial hardship. Under the scheme, grants are paid directly to the tenant’s landlord towards the tenant’s rental payments.

The Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety administers this scheme.

Applications opened 1 May, 2020. Find out about eligibility and how to apply.

Laws to provide support for tenants and landlords 

A 6-month moratorium on residential tenancy evictions became law in April 2020 to prevent tenants having to move out or becoming homeless during the COVID-19 pandemic. The moratorium period began 30 March, 2020.

During the moratorium period:

  • rent cannot be increased
  • expiring fixed-term tenancies automatically convert to periodical tenancies
  • tenants who end a fixed-term tenancy before its end date due to COVID-19 related financial hardship will not incur break lease fees, but will still be liable for damage and rent arrears
  • landlords do not have to carry out non-urgent repairs if they experience financial hardship or cannot access the property due to movement restrictions.

For more information see the Moratorium on residential tenancy evictions becomes law in WA media statement or Consumer Protection advice for residential tenancies.

Community services support

Community services

The WA Government has introduced measures to provide relief to community services to respond to COVID-19:

  • $159 million COVID-19 Crisis Relief Fund to provide support to organisations that are helping people experiencing hardship
  • reduced electricity bills for around 2,800 charities, with a one-off $2500 credit for groups on community service and charitable accommodation electricity tariffs with Synergy and Horizon Power 
  • funding certainty for community service providers, with WA Government agencies to continue to pay contracts with the sector until at least 30 June 2020 
  • waiver on rent for not-for-profit organisations in WA Government-owned buildings until 30 September 2020. 

For more information see the support for community services in response to COVID-19 fact sheet (PDF 116 KB)

Access to PPE

The WA Government is aware of requests from a number of community service providers for items such as personal protective equipment (PPE).  

These items have been in short supply across WA and globally. The WA Government is working to increase stocks and secure supply chains.  

For more information please see Department of Health advice on how to access PPE.

Water Corporation grants for Kimberley non-for-profit organisations

The Water Corporation has launched a one-off round of grants to support not-for-profit organisations and community groups across the Kimberley region that have been financially impacted by COVID-19.

Grants of up to $10,000 are available. Applications close at 4pm on Friday, 5 June 2020. View eligibility criteria and find out how to apply via the Water Corporation website.

First Lotterywest COVID-19 Relief Fund grants approved

The WA Government has announced the first allocation of grants from the Lotterywest $159 million COVID-19 Relief Fund, which goes towards helping Western Australians experiencing hardship.

Approved Lotterywest grants from March and April 2020 will see $1,098,568 support 23 community groups to deliver crisis and emergency relief support for Western Australians in need.

The COVID-19 Relief Fund also includes an initial $59 million for crisis and emergency relief support ($20 million), support for not-for-profit organisations that have cancelled events due to COVID-19 ($14 million) and grants for not-for-profit arts, sport and community organisations to maintain viability and build resilience for future recovery ($25 million).

For more information on grant programs, eligibility, closing dates and recently approved grants, visit the Lotterywest website or call 133 777.

Health initiatives

$2.9m to boost local researchers’ quest for COVID-19 answers

The WA Government has provided $1.9 million in research grants to support 12 COVID-related research projects. Another $1 million has been provided for infrastructure support, covering the cost of consumables, staffing and site set-up for local COVID-19 research.

The funding for the 12 research projects will go towards:

  • treatments
  • studies of at-risk groups
  • study of mental health impacts
  • developing less invasive tests
  • tests that will more accurately inform us about COVID-19 immunity.

For more information on the projects and recipients funded, visit the Department of Health website.

Mandatory testing for COVID-19 to protect police

The WA Government is expanding mandatory testing for anyone who exposes a police officer to the risk of COVID-19.

Current laws allow for the mandatory testing for HIV, hepatitis B and hepatitis C. Presently, there is no legal authority for mandatory testing of COVID-19.

Legislative amendments will:

  • introduce a new process to allow mucous, saliva and respiratory secretions to be taken from an offender to test for coronavirus
  • add COVID-19 to the list of diseases that can be compulsorily tested for.

For more information visit the Expanding mandatory testing to better protect police during Coronavirus pandemic media statement.

Boosting health system capacity

The WA Government has ordered more than $15 million worth of clinical equipment to boost the public health system's response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

301 ventilators and 200 ICU beds were ordered, and hundreds of new beds and extra beds created through reconfiguration of services. The equipment complements a wide-ranging program to increase capacity across the public and private hospital systems.

For more information visit  WA boosting health system capacity for COVID-19 critical care.

Trialling new and emerging treatments

New laws have been introduced to allow all Western Australians the opportunity to participate in world-leading research and experimental treatments targeted at combating COVID-19.

For more information visit  New laws to allow doctors to trial new and emerging treatments for COVID-19.

Other government initiatives

Expanding police capability

New laws allow the Commissioner of Police to order the use of electronic monitoring devices to track a quarantine direction. This enables police to expand their tracking and tracing capabilities, including Automatic Number Plate Recognition technology and GPS tracking for electronic monitoring devices to monitor and enforce movement restrictions across the State.

For more information visit  $91.2 million police package to support COVID-19 response.

Tougher penalties

There are now higher penalties for assaulting and threatening public officers and certain other officers delivering frontline services — including police officers, doctors, nurses, paramedics, bus drivers, and prison officers — in circumstances of actual or threatened exposure to COVID-19.

For more information visit  Tough penalties to protect essential frontline workers during pandemic.

Police squad to monitor compliance with restrictions

A WA Police enforcement squad of more than 200 police officers has been formed to ensure compliance with quarantine and gathering requirements and maintain community safety.

$1000 on the spot fines for individuals and $5000 on the spot fines for businesses can be enforced for non-compliance with requirements.

Penalties of up to $50,000 for individuals still apply under the Emergency Management Act, however, the on-the-spot fines will allow WA Police to issue fines immediately, without having to go through the courts.

Rottnest Island

Recreational fishers who have crayfish pots set in waters off Rottnest Island will be granted restricted access to the area's exclusion zone to collect their equipment, under supervision from Rottnest Island Authority rangers. For more information, see recreational fishers allowed restricted access to Rottnest Island waters.

Rottnest Island and its surrounding waters have been off limits to the public since 25 March, with the island being used as part of the State’s response to COVID-19.

Updated pandemic response plan

The WA Government Pandemic Plan has been updated and is in action. It sets out the arrangements for protecting the community and considers potential impacts, ranging from demands on the health care system to pressures on workplaces, businesses and law and order, disruption to community events and gatherings and demands on goods, services and supplies.

Read the Premier's media release: Pandemic Plan in response to COVID-19.

Other plans: 

Page reviewed 27 May 2020
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