WA Police shuts door on unvaccinated officers as COVID-19 vaccine mandate enforced

Forty-nine unvaccinated police officers will be barred from accessing WA Police facilities today, as the state’s COVID-19 mandate comes into effect.

The officers are among tens of thousands of Western Australians who are required to have had one dose of a vaccine by today and be fully vaccinated by December 31.

WA Deputy Police Commissioner Gary Driebergs told 6PR radio the 49 unvaccinated officers would not be attending work today.

“They’ll be visited by our senior officers in their districts and divisions who will then start the process of investigating why they haven’t been vaccinated or what their intentions are,” he said.

He said the officers would continue to be paid during that investigative process, which was estimated to take up to three weeks.

Disability care services impacted

Major disability care providers were reporting between five and 10 per cent of staff are yet to be vaccinated by today’s deadline.

Carolyn Smith from the United Workers Union said even a small reduction in staff numbers would place significant pressure on the system.

“We are seeing a small group of workers who are either hesitant or completely refusing to have the vaccine,” she said.

Carolyn Smith predicted there would be service delivery impacts in some sectors.(ABC News: Julian Robbins)

“With the National Disability Insurance Scheme, there has been a massive explosion in the number of workers we need in the disability industry.

“Providers are already struggling to get enough staff … so losing five to 10 per cent is going to have a significant impact on services.

“We certainly know of providers who’ve said they’re not taking any more clients at this point in time.”

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The WA Chamber of Minerals and Energy did not give specific figures, but said in a statement anecdotal evidence suggests the majority of the sector’s workforce was either already fully vaccinated or in the process of becoming so.

“In the case of a worker not vaccinated by December 1, companies will work with them on a case-by-case basis in relation to their role and employment outcomes,” CME CEO Paul Everingham said.

“There is not necessarily a one-size-fits-all approach to managing these situations and companies will manage each instance in line with their legislative obligations and employment arrangements with those people.”

Protesters gather at parliament house

Several hundred anti-vaccination and anti-vaccine mandate protesters gathered outside Parliament House this morning.

Protesters gather outside WA’s parliament house.(ABC News: James Carmody)

The group, who faced a heavy police presence, condemned the McGowan government and claimed the constitution had been “violated”.

Some directed verbal abuse at members of the media.

A protester abuses Channel 7 journalist Geof Parry.(ABC News: James Carmody)
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