Premier Mark McGowan faces backlash after Geraldton new year’s break

Edward ScownGeraldton Guardian
Australian Nursing Federation WA secretary Mark Olson has given Premier Mark McGowan a dressing-down.
Camera IconAustralian Nursing Federation WA secretary Mark Olson has given Premier Mark McGowan a dressing-down. Credit: The West Australian

The State’s peak nursing body has taken a swipe at the Premier for his holidaying in Geraldton and Exmouth in the final sprint towards WA’s border reopening.

Premier Mark McGowan was spotted at the Old Man and the Sea rooftop bar on New Year’s Eve, which drew heavy criticism from some locals on social media, who said his mask-less appearance in the regions was a hypocritical move in the face of restrictions in the metro area.

“Rules for thee, but not for me,” one user said. “Mark McGowan is above the law and over us all.”

Mask requirements for those travelling from Perth and Peel only apply to indoor public settings, leaving patrons of the outdoor rooftop bar free to bring in the new year without masks.

Mayor Shane Van Styn said the mask rules for visitors from Perth and Peel were “very clear,” and was delighted the Premier chose to visit Geraldton. He said he hopes the visit will help to boost the town’s entertainment industry.

“I think it’s a good thing that the Premier of the State has come up our way, and it goes to show the rest of the state that Geraldton is a good place to be,” he said.

Mr McGowan was later spotted in an outdoor area of an Exmouth pub.

Most people on social media defended Mr McGowan’s right to have a holiday.

Australian Nursing Federation WA secretary Mark Olson said it was a “bad time” for both the Premier and new Health Minister Amber-Jade Sanderson to be on leave.

“Our members are out there working at the moment and I think if the entire health system is in what they describe as the final sprint towards the opening of the border, then the least the Health Minister and everybody else in the Government can do is not be on holidays and be here with them,” Mr Olson said.

Mr Olson said he wanted to remind people that the border reopens in a month and declared his nursing members were telling him: “We’re not ready.”

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