Speaking on Friday afternoon, McGowan said people could fly to Sydney and then out of the country when the international travel ban lifts – but they may not be allowed back into Western Australia.
“My advice would be don’t do that unless you want to spend a lot of time in Paris or NSW,” he said.
On Friday, Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced that the international border will reopen next month for states that have reached 80 per cent vaccination, starting with NSW.
But McGowan wants the state to be closer to 90 per cent – and that may take some months, given WA is lagging behind the rest of the country in vaccine uptake.
International travel plan
Morrison said he would not wait for the rest of the country to catch up on its vaccinations before allowing flights out of Sydney.
“Sydney is the biggest arrivals port for Australia,” Morrison said.
“That’s good news if you’re anywhere around the world because that’s where most of the flights go.
“Now if you live in another state, what will occur is obviously before you leave, you’ll need to know that it may well be that your state may not let you back into your state.
“So you’ll need to remain in New South Wales until they let you do that.”
The prime minister said it was the role of the states to manage travellers returning from interstate.
“Now that is a matter for Premiers, that is a matter for the states as to how they manage that,” Morrison said.
“But what I’m not going to do, I’m not going to stop people coming back to Australia because other states and territories are where they are at.”
Morrison said he wanted to get the country moving and get Australians overseas back home.
“I want people to get vaccinated. And I want that incentive to be there, which says, let’s get vaccinated, let’s open up,” he said.
WA travel plans
McGowan was more circumspect, saying WA would open up internationally “at some point in time.”
“It is probably just a difference of months between us and other states (like) Victoria and NSW,” he said.
“If that means in the interim we don’t have mass deaths … and lots of people losing their jobs, I think the choice is clear.”
While Morrison flagged seven days of home quarantine for returning Australian travellers, McGowan said that option had not been endorsed by the nation’s chief health officers.
“It’s been referred to them and let’s let them consider it and hear what the whole advice is,” he said.