Ms O'CONNOR question to PREMIER, Mr ROCKLIFF
The Victorian and Western Australian chief health officers have both raised the alarm about the National Cabinet decision you were complicit in to shorten the COVID 19 isolation period from seven to five days. There has been silence, sadly, from our own director of public health.
The Australian Medical Association and independent experts like Dr Nancy Baxter, Professor Brendan Crabb and Dr Raina MacIntyre confirm that this decision will substantially increase the number of infectious people returning to work. How on earth do you justify agreeing to this, knowing it will ensure more infections, long term health disability and deaths in our community? If anyone thinks that is not true, do your homework. We do care about the lives of Tasmanians.
Mr Speaker, I thank the member for her question. The National Cabinet is engaged in these discussions. As the Prime Minister said, the isolation rules going from seven days to five was a proportional response. Those changes come into effect on 9 September, as do the changes relating to -
Ms O'Connor - Release the advice.
Mr SPEAKER - Order. Any more interjections and I will ask you to leave.
Mr ROCKLIFF - masks on planes. We have a nationally consistent position. The number one priority for the Tasmanian Government has been to the health and safety of Tasmanians throughout the pandemic. We have always worked with Public Health, and been guided by Public Health advice.
Dr Woodruff - Give us the advice.
Mr SPEAKER - Order, member for Franklin, the same goes for you. The Premier is answering the question. Please allow him to answer.
Mr ROCKLIFF - We have worked alongside our Public Health team. Other states have deviated from the Public Health advice and we have always been working with our Public Health team.
Ms O'CONNOR - Point of order, Mr Speaker, standing order 45, relevance. I have asked the Premier a very simple question: how does he justify the decision to shorten isolation periods that will lead to more infections and deaths?
Mr SPEAKER - Standing order 45 is not an opportunity for you to interject on the Premier. The Premier was answering the question. He was talking, from my understanding, about National Cabinet and the decision, so he was answering the question. Please do not interject again on the Premier.
Mr ROCKLIFF - As was announced last week, from 9 September the mandatory isolation period for COVID-19 will be reduced from seven days to five days, as long as the person has no symptoms. Certain workers, such as those in hospitals, aged care and disability residential care settings, will be required to avoid those settings for seven days. That is consistent across the nation. People with symptoms should continue to isolate for at least seven days. Employees in high-risk settings, such as hospitals, aged care and disability residential care will be required -
Ms O'CONNOR - Point of order, Mr Speaker, standing order 45, relevance You have instructed us to keep the questions simple. We would like to hear the Premier justify the dangerous decision.
Mr SPEAKER - Again, that is not standing order 45. As far as relevance goes I will always ask the Premier to be relevant to the question. Standing up in this place and taking frivolous points of order when the Premier is trying to answer is also an abuse of the standing order. You can make your points of order but please do not interject on the Premier. He is trying to answer the question. The Premier has the call.
Ms O'CONNOR - On the point of order, Mr Speaker. We did not raise a frivolous point of order. This a matter of life and death. You have instructed me not to interject.
Mr SPEAKER - That is not a point of order. I will ask you to return to your seat. I will ask the Premier to continue his answer.
Mr ROCKLIFF - Mr Speaker, as I was explaining, employees in high-risk settings such as hospitals, aged care and disability residential care will be required to avoid those settings for at least seven days. I also mentioned that from 9 September there will no longer be a requirement to wear a face mask on aircraft. These changes are a proportionate response to current risk levels as Tasmania emerges from a wave of COVID-19 infections and is in line with guidance from the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC). Public Health will continue to communicate with COVID-19 cases and provide outbreak management support and advice to high-risk and priority settings.
Businesses and organisations should update their work health and safety risk assessments in light of the upcoming changes. We should all continue to practice COVID-19-safe behaviours, as we continue to do in this Chamber, and be aware of the current risk levels, and maintain good hand and respiratory hygiene. Stay home and test if you have symptoms and wear face masks in indoor spaces where unable to physically distance, especially when risk is higher.
As we adapt to living with COVID-19 in our community, we will continue to review and adapt public health measures based on Public Health advice, remaining responsive to outbreaks and risks from new strains.