Australia McGowan unfazed as WA workers refuse jab
How states and territories are responding to Omicron variant
States and territories have announced new measures for international travellers entering Australia in response to the emergence of the Omicron COVID-19 variant overseas. Urgent genomic testing is underway in New South Wales to determine whether two overseas arrivals who tested positive to COVID-19 after landing in Sydney are carrying the new Omicron variant.All flights to Australia from nine southern African countries - South Africa, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Lesotho, Eswatini, the Seychelles, Malawi and Mozambique - have been suspended for two weeks.
Almost 2000 West Australian public servants have ignored a deadline to get vaccinated against COVID-19 but the premier insists it won't impact the delivery of services.
Police, prison guards, care workers and firefighters were among state government workers required to have received their first vaccine dose by December 1 under wide-reaching state government mandates.
More than 1900 workers, equating to 2.5 per cent of the 77,552-strong government workforce, failed to provide proof of vaccination by the deadline.
McGowan's tough love stance ‘vindicated' by Commonwealth response to Omicron
The federal government has banned non-citizens from entering Australia from southern Africa, and has reintroduced quarantine requirements for overseas arrivals into NSW and Victoria.The Commonwealth has banned non-citizens from entering Australia from southern Africa, where the variant was first recorded, and has reintroduced quarantine requirements for all overseas arrivals into New South Wales and Victoria.
The workers, who were meant to be fully vaccinated by year's end, will have two weeks to reconsider their position before being subject to disciplinary action which could result in losing their jobs.
Premier Mark McGowan has played down the potential exodus, saying there had ultimately been very strong compliance with the order.
"That's a choice for them - if they don't want to get vaccinated and they want to not work for the government anymore, that is their choice," he told reporters on Wednesday.
"I've consulted the public sector commissioner repeatedly about this. There's been no impact on service delivery in Western Australia out of this.
"Obviously agencies that employ many thousands of people are juggling their workforce and working through the issues to make sure that there's no impact on service delivery."
Mark McGowan demands Ashes players and staff quarantine for 14 days
West Australian Mark McGowan has vowed to stand by his tough border rules by ordering all players and staff in the fifth Ashes Test to quarantine for 14 days as he bans their families from the trip.Perth is slated to host the fifth Ashes Test between the Australia and England cricket teams from January 14 at the 60,000 seat Optus Stadium.
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Fly-in, fly-out mining workers are also subject to the same vaccine deadlines.
A larger cohort including retail and hospitality workers have until the end of the year to get their first dose and must be double-dose vaccinated by January 31.
More than 88 per cent of West Australians aged 12 and over have now received their first vaccine dose and 78 per cent are fully vaccinated.
Mr McGowan will announce a firm date for the reopening of WA's borders when the double-dose vaccination rate reaches 80 per cent in coming days.
The date is expected to be in late-January to align with WA reaching 90 per cent full vaccination.
WA's strict border regime has resulted in Perth losing hosting rights to a cricket Test for the second consecutive summer.
It is a fresh blow to struggling businesses in the Perth CBD, particularly hotels which mostly rely on international and interstate visitors.
The WA government has pinned the blame squarely on Cricket Australia, having also butted heads during the pandemic with airlines, the AFL and other state administrations.
Mr McGowan dismissed suggestions the state had work to do to restore relationships on the east coast once the borders reopen.
The premier last week committed $185 million to luring tourists, airlines and international students back to WA.
What the first Starbucks union means for workers everywhere .
A Starbucks in New York is the first in the US to unionize.For the Starbucks employees at the union store, this means they’ll begin to negotiate a contract for better wages, benefits, and working conditions. For everyone else, this could spur more unionization across the US — whether at more Starbucks locations or anywhere else — thanks to the company’s high profile.