Dr WOODRUFF question to PREMIER, Mr GUTWEIN
Your method of protecting Tasmanians from the risk of overseas travellers infected with COVID-19 who enter the state is to require these people to self-isolate for 14 days. People are asked to fill out a Tasmanian Arrival Card when they land but this is only a voluntary self-declaration process. We heard a story from a person arriving last night from overseas, handed a card and left to fill it out without direction, squeezed next to four other people at a tiny desk. She reported seeing a passenger with bags of duty-free pushing past, ignoring the direction from staff. Another traveller landed yesterday from a non-English speaking country but was given no support to fill out the form in English.
We are deeply concerned the lack of resourcing and stringent processes makes this a manifestly ineffectual protection measure. You said this morning 104 people have completed the card but you cannot be sure how many people did not comply if you are not enforcing or tracking people properly. Will you make this an effective safety measure by increasing resourcing immediately and effectively tracking people to check that they are self-isolating properly?
Madam Speaker, I thank Dr Woodruff, the member for Franklin, for that question and her interest in this. As I have informed the House already today, more than 100 people have filled out the card but I accept the issues you have raised and will certainly look into it, especially regarding language. My understanding was that the cards would be provided in a range of languages, as would the signage there, to ensure that people from other parts of the world were able to understand what was required. We will have a look at that and ensure that matter is dealt with. We are asking people to self-identify and if we need to we will take further steps and look at what can be done.
The model proposed was similar to the way biosecurity works at all of our airports, where as you walk through you declare any fruit or anything like that. It was felt that this was a way of taking that additional step, asking those questions, having people take the opportunity to fill those cards out and, importantly, providing appropriate signage, both in the entrance hall and around the airport itself, to ensure that people understand what their obligations are. I make the point that now we have declared a public health emergency, the offence provisions are up to $16 800 for not complying with the requirement to fill that card out.
Dr Woodruff - But there's no enforcement of that, is there? That's the problem.
Mr GUTWEIN - The member has raised some concerns and I am happy to look into those concerns. I undertake to do that after we finish question time today.