Pre­mier slams store raiders

Narrogin Observer - - FRONT PAGE - Michael Traill

Pre­mier Mark McGowan has slammed hoarders who leave Perth to “ran­sack” re­gional stores dur­ing the COVID-19 cri­sis.

Speak­ing in Par­lia­ment last week about the im­pact of the pan­demic on re­gional towns, he joined Op­po­si­tion MPs in con­demn­ing those who had re­port­edly raided coun­try towns for sup­plies.

“This is a shock­ing, unAus­tralian thing to do, and I have never seen it hap­pen be­fore in my life­time,” Mr McGowan said.

The Pre­mier was grilled about his plans to pro­tect small busi­nesses and the agri­cul­tural in­dus­try.

Shadow Trea­surer Dean Nalder has urged Govern­ment MPs to travel through the Wheat­belt and Great South­ern to see the closed store fronts in towns along the Great South­ern High­way.

The Bate­man MP made the com­ments dur­ing par­lia­men­tary dis­cus­sions last week sur­round­ing the im­pact COVID-19 could have on re­gional economies.

“The McGowan Govern­ment has a poor track record when it comes to look­ing af­ter peo­ple in the bush,” Mr Nalder said. “If mem­bers have not been there, I en­cour­age them to drive down Great South­ern High­way and look at how many small busi­nesses and shopfronts are closed.

“They should drive through Nar­ro­gin and have a look. It is a con­cern, and the Pre­mier is not do­ing any­thing about it for the peo­ple out there in re­gional WA.”

Mr Nalder told the State’s Lower House that farm­ers in the re­gion had grown anx­ious about how the global pan­demic would af­fect their sup­ply chain.

“If the Pre­mier is wor­ried about our econ­omy, the agri­cul­tural sec­tor de­liv­ers a lot for WA, but I have not heard him say­ing that the Govern­ment is re­ally con­cerned about the sup­ply chain,” he said.

“Can farm­ers get their fer­tiliser? Can they get their diesel? Can they get the chem­i­cals to en­sure that these things are go­ing ahead?”

Pre­mier Mark McGowan re­sponded by say­ing it was “tragic” what was hap­pen­ing to small and medium busi­nesses across the coun­try and high­lighted stim­u­lus pack­ages re­leased by his Govern­ment.

He said there was only so much gov­ern­ments could do dur­ing the COVID-19 cri­sis, but there was no point bankrupt­ing the State, say­ing the State Govern­ment would need to be called on to boost in­dus­try once the cri­sis was over.

The Pre­mier also moved to de­nounce Perth res­i­dents who “ran­sack” re­gional su­per­mar­kets.

“I con­demn peo­ple who leave the city to go and ran­sack su­per­mar­kets in re­gional towns, just as I con­demn peo­ple who go into su­per­mar­kets in the city, wher­ever they are from, and ran­sack those su­per­mar­kets as well,” Mr McGowan said. “This is a shock­ing, un-Aus­tralian thing to do, and I have never seen it hap­pen be­fore in my life­time.”

There have been re­ports of su­per­mar­ket, gro­cery stores and phar­ma­cies be­ing cleaned out of cer­tain items by panic buy­ers trav­el­ling to coun­try towns in­clud­ing Brook­ton.

The Na­tion­als WA asked the State Govern­ment to work with the su­per­mar­kets and their sup­ply chains to en­sure there were no more panic buyer “raids”.

Shadow Trea­surer Dean Nalder.

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