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Wesfarmers looks east due to WA’s strict border policy

(Source: Facebook)

Bunnings’ parent Wesfarmers is considering temporarily relocating head office staff to Melbourne, citing a growing frustration with Western Australia’s hard border policy.

The company described it as “virtually impossible” to do business in the state. 

Western Australia’s Premier Mark McGowan has scrapped the planned reopening of the state on February 5 due to the rise of Omicron cases in the country. Cases have now been recorded in both Perth as well as remote mine sites across the state. 

Although McGowan has garnered widespread support for his hard border policies within the state, the business community is unhappy with the onerous restrictions. 

“(WA) is out of step with the rest of the country, and most of the world,” said Wesfarmers CEO Rob Scott, according to The Australian.

“The uncertainty around when the border might re-open and the continuing inflexibility towards business-critical travel means that it is now virtually impossible to run a national business from Perth,” said Scott.

The company is working through the acquisition of Priceline pharmacy and wants to meet in person with the owners as part of that process.  If Scott can’t get back into Perth without quarantining, he says he will stay in the east.

Scott and other top executives might temporarily relocate to Melbourne until border crossing is eased and becomes ‘less burdensome’.

Likewise, Qantas chair Richard Goyder also wants to ‘take control’ of his life and expressed that business interactions need people ‘in the room’ and not just on Zoom. 

“This is becoming increasingly difficult and is currently almost impossible, and I am concerned that this sentiment will linger,” said Goyder told AFR.

“I worry that young people who are here and who are listening to their friends on the east coast about the freedoms they have, those people will go.”

The opinion was not shared by everyone in the corporate sphere with Gina Rinehart of Hancock Prospecting in favour of the ongoing isolation rules, the AFR reported. 

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