Western Australia has made it mandatory for all employees who work with natural resources to receive COVID-19 jabs. The new rule aims to protect vulnerable Indigenous communities as the country eases lockdown restrictions.
The mandatory vaccine policy also applies to all workers flying in and out of remote sites and any visitors working in mining, oil and gas exploration.
"The new directions will address the risks posed by movement of resources sector workers, to and from regional and remote locations in WA, with many sites and operations located at or near remote Aboriginal communities," said State Premier Mark McGowan, in a joint statement with the country's mining and health ministries.
Following the latest vaccination policy, people working in mining, oil and gas exploration in WA are required to have their first dose by 1 December and must be fully vaccinated by 1 January.
Overall, WA is host to 141,000 workers in the natural resources sector. During the pandemic, WA has been most stringent with its policies.
But with vaccination drives rolled out across Australia, Prime Minister Scott Morrison has been nudging state leaders to reopen borders and restart operations while taking necessary steps to maintain health and safety. Morrison's call to action suggests the economy needs to ease zero-COVID restrictions if it is to recover.
Last week, the Morrison government also announced plans to reopen international borders starting in November.