Optus Stadium to serve as emergency police HQ

Optus Stadium in Perth is set to open its doors for local police as the state of Western Australia steps up efforts to limit the spread of the coronavirus.

State Premier Mark McGowan announced today (Tuesday) that WA Police would use the 60,000-seat stadium as a crisis management centre.

With all sporting events and music concerts at the stadium having been cancelled due to the coronavirus outbreak, the venue is currently not in use. It is hoped that turning the stadium into a hub for local police will support the force’s coronavirus response effort.

“Police here will track workforce impacts and plan for the need for essential services across Western Australia,” McGowan said, according to local newspaper WAtoday.

“This will turn the directions that come out of state emergency committee meetings… into operational guidance for officers to ensure the resilience and continuity of law and order in Western Australia.”

WA Police commissioner Chris Dawson added: “This is one of four centres in which we are both coordinating (and) commanding a state of emergency. This is about our community. This is about us being able to make decisions … and there are many issues that will impact on people’s lives, people’s businesses and indeed the way we operate as a community.”

Western Australia is currently in a state of emergency and yesterday all pubs, clubs, gyms, cinemas, places of worship, libraries and cultural institutions were ordered to close. Non-essential indoor gatherings of more than 100 people have also been banned by the Australian government.

Optus Stadium opened in January 2018 and is used to stage AFL and cricket matches, as well as rugby and football.

Image: Tama Leaver