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WA Open Borders

Open Borders stirring big emotions for West Australians.

After what seems like forever, WA’s borders are set to open on Thursday 3rd March. A signal of a return to some normalcy harking back to a time pre-Pandemic, and thousands if not millions of people are excited about the ability to reunite with loved ones for the first time in years.

These are things that should be celebrated.

However, it’s important to remember that the prospect of open travel does not incite the same emotional response in everyone, and today’s blog is a timely reminder of something we talk about a lot at 30 Foot Drop – of treating people with respect, and showing empathy and compassion.

Let’s just call out the elephant in the room: not everyone shares the same feelings about WA’s borders opening.

For some, the opening of the borders feels like the end of a intense training montage in a bad 1980s movie, where the main character has been preparing for the ultimate showdown to achieve something great. There’s a sense of anticipation, excitement and a triumph-above-all finale. 

For others, it’s more like the iconic Jaws theme song, getting louder and louder as we approach the 3rd March deadline.

When announcing the previous open border date for February, Premier Mark McGowan stated it would also end the threat of lockdowns, I don't know if this is still valid, I guess we have to watch this space and see how the government reacts to increasing COVID infection rates.

Either way, lockdowns will still exist albeit in a more self-imposed way. There are still many vulnerable people in our community – those who are or know someone who is immunocompromised, pregnant or unvaccinated – who are watching the events happening in the Eastern States and overseas with concern.

To them, they approach the borders opening with caution and are considering what actions they can take on an individual level to decrease their own risk.

Whatever side of the fence you sit, I think we can all agree what’s happened in the other states, dealing with Omicron ain’t pretty. There’s hospitals with ridiculous amounts of ramping, people dying in record numbers and pregnant women choosing to give birth at home rather than risk going to hospital with greater restrictions and also greater exposure risk. For some in our vulnerable communities, the risk is too great and the fear is very real.

While the border has yet to open, having the Omicron variants in the community has already affected me and my business.  I’ve been really enjoying delivering our Leadership Course across the State over the last few months, however I’ve had to make the difficult decision to move all future sessions 100% online for the safety of our presenters, attendees and myself.

Now, I can promise that attendees will still get an incredible amount out of the course, regardless if it’s delivered in person or online. But from a personal perspective I’m disappointed because I really enjoy meeting people face-to-face, casually chatting and getting to know them and their communities. That’s part of the joy in travelling WA delivering these courses.

But I’ve had to make this decision with people’s wellbeing front of mind. And it extends beyond the

Leadership Course – I’ve also had to look at moving meetings with Government ministers, industry leaders and large corporations online, which in itself provides unique challenges. Are online meetings an option? If not, what is their COVID plan? How many people will be present in the room with me? These are all huge considerations for me.

I need to know all these things in order to make a calculated risk. Importantly, not everyone’s level of acceptable risk is going to be the same. Whatever their own personal decisions are around risk-taking, it’s critical that we respect it and them.

We need to respect that everyone is going to deal with open borders and community transmission in their own way.

We live in a democracy which means we are fortunate to have choice. By nature of our multicultural society, those choices are going to be vast and wide, and whether we agree with each other’s decisions or not is redundant – we are afforded a community that accepts different opinions with respect.

It’s handy to remember that when our borders eventually open to the world.


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