The federal budget will secretly reveal that Western Australia may not plan to open its border until April 2021.
Australia’s federal budget, which will be released on Tuesday night, has been based on the assumption that WA’s border will remain shut for months to come.
Treasurer Josh Frydenberg’s budget figures have reportedly factored in the state’s re-opening date as April 1, according to The West Australian.
Treasurer Josh Frydenberg (pictured right with Finance Minister Mathias Cormann) has reportedly designed Australia’s federal budget with an opening date for WA in mind
The budget, set to be released on Tuesday night, was based on the assumption that Western Australia will remain closed off to tourists (Rottnest Island pictured) until April 1, 2021
WA slammed its borders shut in April this year when the coronavirus pandemic took hold and has remained closed off ever since.
The late re-opening would allow WA premier Mark McGowan to keep the border up until after the state election in March.
It is understood this decision would capitalise on Mr McGowan’s popularity with voters, as most Western Australians remain supportive of the border restrictions.
In a recent poll carried out by market research group, Utting Research, 77 per cent of 3,500 people surveyed were in favour of keeping the border closed.
The figures reached a peak when Victoria experienced its second wave of coronavirus and 96 per cent of Western Australians supported the border.
Mr McGowan last week remained adamant he would not open his state’s borders anytime soon despite coronavirus infection levels reaching a negligible level outside Victoria.
The state has not recorded a case of coronavirus in the community for 180 days, but still refuses to open up – even to other safe states
‘There is no benefit,’ Mr McGowan said on Thursday.
The late re-opening would allow WA premier Mark McGowan to keep the border up, a popular choice with voters, until after the state election in March (pub-goers pictured in Perth)
‘All we’ll do is lose jobs were we to open to those [jurisdictions].
‘The other states want us to open the border so that West Australian tourists will flood east, not so that people from the east will come here.
‘They’re only saying all this for very self-interested reasons because we have higher incomes, we have people that are more used to travelling and therefore we’ll have more tourists go from Western Australia to the east.’
Mr McGowan said the borders won’t come down until the eastern states go 28 days with no community transmissions.
Tensions with the Federal Government reached breaking point on Monday when WA Tourism Minister Paul Papalia claimed the state could not accomodate eastern visitors if the border came down.
Finance Minister Mathias Cormann fired back and said the WA Government were using the hard border for economic protectionism.
‘Let me get this straight, the Tourism Minister of Western Australia says we don’t want and can’t accommodate interstate business,’ he wrote on Twitter.
The budget will be announced at 7.30pm and is expected to introduce income tax cuts and business tax concessions amid the country’s first recession in almost three decades.
Daily Mail Australia has contacted Mr McGowan and The Treasury for comment.
WA Premier Mark McGowan (pictured) has said reopening the borders to states with few cases would provide no economic benefit