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Ex-Covid commission boss Nev Power charged with alleged WA border breach after helicopter flight

·2-min read
<span>Photograph: Mike Bowers/The Guardian</span>
Photograph: Mike Bowers/The Guardian

The former head of the federal government’s post-Covid economic taskforce has been charged with breaching Western Australia’s border restrictions, after allegedly flying in a private helicopter into the state without the required travel pass.

Neville Power, 63, who led Australia’s National Covid-19 Coordination Commission , and a 36-year-old man failed to fill out the travel pass, called a G2G pass, before allegedly flying into WA on 9 October, police say.

Related: ‘The time is now’: Western Australia to mandate Covid vaccines for most workers

Police allege the two men left Queensland on 8 October and flew in the helicopter to Exmouth. They then stopped to refuel in Carnarvon and Geraldton before arriving at Jandakot airport on 9 October, police say.

“A 63-year-old man from Perth and a 36-year-old man from Henley Brook have each been charged with three counts of fail to comply with a direction,” WA police said in a statement.

“The company that owns the helicopter has also been charged with fail to comply with a direction.”

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Both men were directed to self-quarantine for 14 days and returned negative Covid test results. They will appear in the Perth magistrates court on 15 November.

A spokesperson for Jandakot airport said she was not aware of the alleged incident and did not answer questions about what checks there were for people arriving.

Power is the current chairman of Perth airport and the Royal Flying Doctor’s Service.

He is also is the deputy chair of WA gas company Strike Energy. In a statement to the ASX, the company said he would continue to perform his duties.

The former Fortescue Metals boss is an aviation enthusiast.

The maximum penalty for failing to comply with WA’s emergency management act is 12 months in prison or a $50,000 fine.

Perth airport and Strike Energy declined to comment when contacted by Guardian Australia.

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