Speaking in a Friday press conference, the Western Australian Premier issued a warning to the Pilbara region which has the lowest vaccination rate in the country.
Mr McGowan said he would be forced to act and impose ongoing restrictions after interstate borders were opened if jab rates continued to fall behind.
Only 50 per cent of the Pilbara population have rolled up their sleeves for one dose of the vaccine and just 37 per cent are fully vaccinated.
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Western Australia’s roadmap outlining when New South Wales, Victorian and Canberran residents would be allowed to visit the state without quarantine was released in early November.
Interstate travel will restart once the state reaches the 90 per cent double-dose milestone for those 12 and older, which is forecast to occur in January or February.
The precise date when the hard borders will come down will be announced in December after Western Australia has hit the 80 per cent vaccine target.
But on Friday Mr McGowan confirmed regions with low vaccination rates could be shut off from the rest of the state and interstate travellers once border restrictions are relaxed.
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“It is more likely that double dose vaccinated people would be able to come in and out,” he said. “If you’re not double dose vaccinated you won’t be able to come in.”
“If you leave the region and you’re not double dose vaccinated you won’t be able to come back.”
Mr McGowan added that tourists could also face restrictions.
“We’d have to have a look at tourists if they were double dose vaccinated, because of course tourists can still spread the virus,” he said.
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“So they’re the sorts of rules that we’re currently working out.”
He said a decision on whether certain regions would need to be cut off from visitors would be made after a date was set for opening the state’s border.
Mr McGowan added that border measures would likely be enforced using intrastate roadblocks.
The announcement has been criticised by members of the Pilbara community and the tourism sector.
Tourism Council WA chief executive Evan Hall said the promise of future travel restrictions being reimposed was troubling.  
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“If the Pilbara was shut down for regional travel it would slice the north of WA in half,” he told the ABC.
“We’d actually be stopping tour buses, and just West Australians driving north in their four wheel drives and caravans.”
Meanwhile, a report by Western Australia’s Auditor General warned some Aboriginal communities might not reach the 80 per cent vaccine milestone until August next year.
This has triggered a five-week blitz in a bid to boost COVID-19 immunisation among indigenous populations.
Western Australia has seen 83.9 per cent of its over-12 population come forward for their first dose and 72 per cent receive two doses.

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