Premier slams store raiders
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.