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Hospitality and Events – Covid Safety Grants

Cassy O'Connor MP  -  Wednesday, 8 June 2022

Tags: COVID-19

Ms O'CONNOR - As I understand it, the Event Ready 2021-2022 grants program provides funding for events and activities to assist with COVID 19 safety planning. I believe the program expires in November this year. Is it your expectation that there will be no COVID 19 safety planning requirements following November? And is it your Government's policy to end all COVID 19 related support in this Budget?

Mr STREET - I certainly don't want to pre empt where we might be in three months' time, let alone six months' time, in terms of COVID 19 protocols and what have you. I know you're bored by the continued statement, but we take our advice from Public Health in terms of the restrictions we need to have in place at any given time. We have responded to Public Health advice at every stage during the pandemic. I don't want to pre empt the decisions that Public Health might make around what is still necessary in November.

As to the fund expiring, that isn't an indication of anything other than the fact that the fund expires in November.

Ms O'CONNOR - Just a comment on the Public Health advice. That is the same advice that has allowed 170 000 Tasmanians to be infected with the novel coronavirus.

So, you are not prepared to say, because all we've got is the budget papers to look at in term of the Government's policy approach, you're not prepared to say that at the end of November, all COVID-19 safety support for events and activities will end? That's what the budget paper tells us, that in November the Government will say to events, 'oh, it's all over now, you're on your own'.

Mr STREET - They certainly won't be all on their own.

Ms O'CONNOR - There will be no COVID 19 safety funding.

Mr STREET - What we have said is that we will follow public health advice and we will react and support as a Government where necessary. If that means that there are still protocols in place come November, and specific industries or organisations need support, then that will be looked at in due course. But I'm not committing to there being no restrictions in November. Nor am I committing to ongoing support past November. We will take the public health advice and we will frame policies around that advice.

Ms O'CONNOR - Again, what you call 'restrictions' are called protections by independent epidemiologists and virologists. But I repeat myself.

Mr STREET - I'm happy to call them protections as well.

Ms O'CONNOR - They should be called protections because they save people's lives and long-term health. Thank you.