COVID-19: Travel restrictions

Government Directions about travel to and within Western Australia (WA)

On 15 March 2020 the WA government declared a State of Emergency in response to COVID-19. This allows it to use emergency powers to create legally enforceable Directions (rules) to help limit the spread of COVID-19 and manage its impact. During the pandemic, the WA Government has issued a number of directions affecting travel within and into WA, as described below.

On 18 March 2020 the Commonwealth government declared a Human Biosecurity Emergency in response to COVID-19. This allows it to use emergency powers to make legally enforceable determinations to limit the spread of COVID-19. Using these powers, the Commonwealth government continues to impose some rules on international arrivals into Australia, as detailed on the Department of Home Affairs website.

What are the current rules about travelling within WA?

The only restrictions currently in place for travel within WA are those imposed by the WA Government in relation to travel to certain remote Aboriginal communities.

Travelling to remote Aboriginal communities within WA 

At the start of the pandemic the Commonwealth government imposed restrictions on travel into a designated area in WA which included certain remote Aboriginal communities, but these restrictions were lifted on 5 June 2020.

Currently, the only rules that restrict travel into certain remote Aboriginal communities in WA, are those put in place by the WA government.  They are designed to protect the health and wellbeing of the residents of these communities.

These rules are contained in the Remote Aboriginal Communities Directions (No 5).

These directions say that the only people who can enter the land or waters of the remote Aboriginal communities named in the directions, are residents and people who are:

  • providing essential services and supplies
  • going to work or school there
  • entering for family or cultural reasons
  • delivering a community program or activity
  • entering in an emergency.

However, these people (including residents who have left and are returning) cannot enter a community if they have COVID-19 or symptoms of COVID-19, or if they are waiting for a test result or have been in contact with someone who has COVID-19.

Travellers can drive through a remote Aboriginal community only if they do not stop or come into contact with any person in the community.

The WA government website provides information about the directions on this webpage COVID-19 coronavirus: Remote Aboriginal communities travel

Also helpful is this webpage Restrictions on travel to remote Aboriginal communities frequently asked questions which provides more detail and includes information about how to apply for special permission from WA police to enter a remote Aboriginal community when you are otherwise not allowed to under the directions.

It is an offence to break these rules about travel to remote Aboriginal communities. The maximum penalty for breaking these rules is imprisonment of 12 months or a fine of $50,000. Alternatively, police can issue you with a $1000 infringement on the spot.

What are the current rules about travelling into WA?

While WA had a controlled border in place, the rules about travel into WA from interstate changed frequently in response to outbreaks of COVID-19 in other states and territories. However, when WA’s controlled border was lifted on 3 March 2022 the WA government imposed different directions that remained in place until 30 April 2022. From then, all restrictions on interstate travel were lifted, leaving restrictions for international arrivals only.

The current WA government directions that apply to international arrivals into WA are the COVID Transition (International Border) Directions.

There are also Commonwealth Government requirements to enter Australia.

Both the WA rules and the Commonwealth rules must be met if you want to enter WA from overseas.

The WA government website has information explaining the rules for travel into WA from interstate COVID-19 coronavirus: Interstate travel or overseas COVID-19 coronavirus: International travel.

There are also these Frequently asked questions on the WA government website about travel to WA.

It is a criminal offence to break the rules about travel into WA. The maximum penalty for breaking the WA government rules is imprisonment of 12 months or a fine of $50,000. Alternatively, WA police can issue you with a $1000 infringement on the spot.

 

Reviewed: 2 May 2022

Disclaimer

The information displayed on this page is provided for information purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. If you have a legal problem, you should see a lawyer. Legal Aid Western Australia aims to provide information that is accurate, however does not accept responsibility for any errors or omissions in the information provided on this page or incorporated into it by reference.