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DATE: May 12, 2020

The WA Police Union has welcomed the expansion of mandatory testing for infectious diseases, in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

President Harry Arnott said the Union had lobbied for these changes since the onset of the pandemic.

“The very nature of police work means that we inevitably come into contact with other persons’ bodily fluids,” Mr Arnott said.

“Adding COVID-19 to the list of diseases for mandatory testing is an important and commonsense move in the current climate.

“The risk of exposure to COVID-19 will remain until there is a vaccine so these changes provide our members with the assurances they need to ensure they are not exposing their colleagues and families to the virus.

“The WA Police Force, in particular Assistant Commissioner Gary Budge and his team, must be congratulated for advocating for these amendments to protect our people.”

Mr Arnott said mandatory testing legislation had provided police officers with significant peace of mind since its inception but further changes were needed.

“The legislation has been a resounding success however, there needs to be an amendment to compel doctors to complete the testing.

“We have experienced cases where the orders have been made to draw the bodily fluids and the doctor refuses to do the test, leaving our people in the lurch. That is not the spirit of the legislation and needs to be addressed by the McGowan Government as a matter of urgency.”