Peter Gutwein

Premier of Tasmania

PRESS CONFERENCE - 19 OCTOBER 2020

Premier Peter Gutwein

Our number one priority is to keep Tasmanians safe and protect their health as we work through this.

As I’ve said last week, we’ll provide an update on our border arrangements today.

We remain on track to reopen to the low-risk jurisdictions of South Australia, West Australia, Northern Territory, the ACT and Queensland in seven days’ time on 26 October.

This coming Friday, we’ll bring online the new Tas E-Travel Registration System for people to register their travel from low-risk jurisdictions to Tasmania.

This will help us understand where people are travelling from and ensure we have their contact details so we can send COVID updates and information, and should we need to contact them it will make it much easier.

People will be able to access this system three days before arriving in Tasmania and it will be available on the website from Friday this week.

For those who are looking for information, go to the Coronavirus website.

There will be further updates this week, and the Tas E-Travel Registration System will be online from Friday.

On arrival at the airport or seaport terminal in Tasmania passengers will undergo health screening, including temperature checks and questions regarding whether they have any symptoms.

Those who have systems will be requested to have a test and to isolate until the result is known.

The Good 2 Go process will not change for anyone who has spent time in a high-risk area.

Those travellers will still be required to apply to enter our State through the Good 2 Go system and be subject to quarantine arrangements.

In terms of travellers from NSW. We have been monitoring the situation in that State as I have indicated. And it’s pleasing that that State, while continuing to have new cases, they are only a limited handful of cases generally on a day-by-day basis.

We intend to monitor the situation in NSW this week, with the hope that we may be able to ease our border restrictions with that State in the first week of November. That is, the week beginning Monday 2 November.

But again, if the situation changes in NSW, if it worsens, we won’t hesitate to keep our borders restricted with that State, and keep our border arrangements in place.

However, I think it’s reasonable to say, certainly in discussions with Public Health, that the situation in NSW is looking relatively positive as we move forward.

Furthermore, in terms of Victoria, the situation in that State continues to improve which is good and welcome news, as we edge closer to Christmas. I know there are many Tasmanians with families in Victoria, and many Tasmanians that have children or relatives in Victoria who are looking to get to Tasmania when they can.

So I want to assure Tasmanians that in terms of Victoria, we’ll provide as much certainty as we can, and we’ll provide regular updates on the Victorian situation, and any other hotspot in terms of whether or not our border will open, on a weekly basis as we work our way through.

We had originally said 1 December for Victoria, and at this stage there is no change to that, but obviously if the situation gets better, then we can look to provide more clarity in terms of Victoria.

And I have the very clear expectation that in a fortnight, that we should be able to provide a clear plan in terms of the situation in Victoria, subject to that circumstance continuing to improve.

I’d like to touch on the NZ travel bubble and Tasmania. This commenced last Friday, in terms of the travel bubble with other states.

I’m advised that as of yesterday, we’ve had five travellers from NZ that have arrived in Tasmania, and a further New Zealander has travelled here today.

We’re well prepared in terms of restrictions. Those travellers will go into quarantine in government facilities at their own expense.

Currently any one arriving in our State who has been overseas in the past 14 days is required to enter hotel quarantine at their own expense.

Public Health is currently considering, though, how transiting travellers from NZ will be treated from this coming Monday.

By transiting, a New Zealander coming into Sydney Airport, for example, but not leaving the airport footprint, but then coming on to Tasmania. We’ll take further advice from Public Health this week, and we will be announcing a position on Friday in terms of that prior to borders opening next Monday.

Obviously, NZ is seen as a low risk jurisdiction, and we want to ensure that we have in place a sensible but responsible process for New Zealanders who come into the country, especially those who are transiting and do not actually step outside of the airport terminal.

But to be clear to New Zealanders who are travelling at the moment: if you travel to Tasmania via another jurisdiction, you will be required to enter 14 days of mandatory quarantine as it stands at the moment. But we’ll have more to say on Friday in terms of that.

I do want to touch on the Antarctic expeditioners, and to say that it is running very smoothly.

We were able to accommodate the safe transit for the international Antarctic expeditioners while keeping Tasmanians safe.

I’d like to acknowledge Tasmanian Police, which is leading the security arrangements, supported by the ADF, enabling the safe arrival at the airport, transfer and check in at two Southern Tasmania quarantine hotels.

In the lead up to National Cabinet this week, Tasmania remains in active discussion with the Australian Government about what role we can play in the national effort to support returning Australian citizens from overseas.

In order for any arrivals from overseas to arrive in our State, we must have the appropriate border force arrangements in place.

We remain in active discussions with the Australian Government and the Hobart International Airport on the work required to accept both repatriation flights bringing Australians home, as well as direct flights between Tasmania and New Zealand.

Once these negotiations are complete, it is expected that an interim facility could be completed in eight to ten weeks, in terms of the footprint at the Hobart Airport, as I’ve explained before.

I want to stress though, that above all, we want to protect the health and safety of Tasmanians, and our negotiations with the Australian Government are firmly focussed on that point, and we won’t do anything to jeopardise that.

In terms of the relaxation of border restrictions coming up this Monday. I want to stress to Tasmanians that it is important that we all continue to take responsibility.

We’ve outlined our Border Strategy, and that takes steps in terms of ensuring that we are prepared.

But the most important thing that Tasmanians can do is to continue to follow the rules; to ensure that they do those things that will keep themselves safe but importantly, their family and their community safe as well.

Now is not the time to be complacent.

I was out and about on the weekend, and in the main, the vast majority of Tasmanians are doing the right thing.

But I want to make the point, that around the world, there are more than 30 million cases of this disease. Hundreds of thousands of people have died.

We’ve seen what has happened in Victoria, we’ve seen what is happening in other parts of the world at the moment, in Europe and also in the States.

And it is important that we do what we can to keep ourselves safe. Wash your hands regularly, if you see sanitiser offered, make sure that you use it. Cover your coughs and sneezes.

Importantly, if you feel unwell, do not go to school, do not go to work, do not take part in other activities. Get a test. Get a test. Make certain that you don’t put us in the same situation that occurred in Victoria, especially, in what is very much the Australian way, would wake up in the morning, they might be feeling a little bit off, but they were getting up and they were going to work.

Please, if you don’t feel well, do not go to work. Do not run the risk of taking this virus into your work or any other kind of facility. Go and get a test.

If you are a business, have your COVIDSafe plans in place to protect your staff and customers.

As a Government, we will do our very best to keep our borders are as safe as they can be and to ensure our high-risk settings are prepared, and to ensure that we can test and trace if and when we may need to do so.

But I can’t stress strongly enough that we need every body to continue to do the right thing, to continue to follow the rules.

Our life is almost back to normal. It’s a COVID normal. It’s important that we all continue to accept that this disease is deadly. That we all do what we can to ensure that we don’t inflict it on our family, the community, the State. And I implore Tasmanians to move vigilant as we move forward.