The Opposition has said the Premier’s delayed border re-opening date proved his Labor Government had squandered the gift of time and left WA’s hospitals ill-prepared for COVID-19.

Opposition Leader Mia Davies said the change in the Premier’s Safe Transition Plan was an admission that WA’s health system was not ready for an influx of COVID-19.

“West Australians are being told to continue making sacrifices like forgoing seeing loved ones and businesses must keep suffering from acute worker shortages due to closed borders, to buy more time for a Government that has wasted the past two years,” Ms Davies said.

“Now that the Premier has indefinitely delayed the re-opening date, there is no excuse if our hospitals fail when the borders eventually come down.

“The McGowan Government has shifted the goal posts again and provided no clarity for businesses, families and the community on what rules and restrictions might be in place when WA eventually re-opens.”

Shadow Health Minister Libby Mettam said the Premier’s plan to lock WA up indefinitely, stuck in a holding pattern while the rest of the world moves on, points to a failure of leadership and a failure to prepare for COVID-19.

“The people and businesses of WA have done everything they were asked, by getting vaccinated and shouldering the burden of lockdowns, yet this Government’s reward was to fail in properly planning and preparing for COVID-19’s inevitable arrival,” Ms Mettam said.

“The Health Minister is deluded if she thinks our health system is “world-class” and the Premier is simply wrong when he claims our hospitals have capacity and are strong.

“The Health Minister’s urgent eleventh-hour efforts to desperately recruit for our under-resourced health system should have happened two years ago.”

Leader of the WA Liberal Party Dr David Honey said every West Australian and business owner relying on the border re-opening on February 5 has the right to be disappointed.

“The Premier’s announcement is an admission of failure to both prepare our State for COVID and to be honest to Western Australians – now we’re stuck with a delayed reopening date and poorly protected community,” Dr Honey said.

“The Labor Government last night proved they have very little faith in their own ability to govern, and instead of owning up to it months ago, they strung WA along and perpetuated the lie that they believed they had prepared the State adequately for re-opening.

“I sincerely hope the Premier can now take COVID-19 preparation seriously and do the work his Government has neglected to do over the past two years.”