Peter Gutwein

Premier of Tasmania

PRESS CONFERENCE - 7 MAY 2020

Premier Peter Gutwein

I would like to begin by once again thanking Tasmanians for staying home to save lives and just, once again, reiterate how important it is that people continue to follow the rules.

Last night at 6pm, it was reported that we had zero positive cases yesterday, which was good news. However, testing continued into the evening. There was one positive case late in the evening. So, for yesterday, one positive case, but up to 6pm for that 24-hour period, there were no positive cases in that period. At the moment we have 224 positive cases, 41 of them are still active, with 170 where people have recovered. Public Health and the Minister will have more to say about that in a moment.

Tomorrow, after National Cabinet, I’ll be outlining Tasmania’s way forward and the road map that we’ll be taking. One thing that I do want to make clear though is that we have to expect that we will see, with increased testing, positive cases bubble up, and we need to remain ever vigilant and maintain our discipline in terms of the rules.

In Tasmania, we will continue to march to the beat of our own drum, and tomorrow, after National Cabinet, I will outline the road map that we will take in terms of the restrictions, the steps that we will take to lift restrictions and, importantly, where businesses and other activities will sit.

I do want to make the point and be quite clear about this, and I know that it is difficult for many people, but the rules to aged care will not change until Monday, and then we will have a process whereby we will transition to the national approach.

I know that for many people, with Mother’s Day coming up, that that is a difficult issue, but I do want to say, that the best present that you can provide for your mother is to keep her safe, and I would encourage Tasmanians to follow the rules and accept that whilst this is difficult, we have an older and more vulnerable population, and the last thing that we want is to take the virus to them.

The current restrictions are in place until the 15th May. I want to be quite clear about that. In terms of the current restrictions, I am hopeful that we may be able to move a little bit earlier on the green space and access to parks.

Also in terms of one matter that has been very difficult and troubling for many families are the number of people that can attend a funeral. And so, we’re working through these matters at the moment, and hopefully tomorrow, in terms of the road map, that we are able to do something earlier in terms of those matters.

But again, I do want to make the point that the broader restrictions are all in place until the 15th, and aged care restrictions are in place until Monday night at midnight.  I’ll be providing more clarity tomorrow.

Yesterday, an important Bill passed the Lower House, and I’m pleased and thankful for the support of the House in terms of the passage of that Bill, and also I do want to acknowledge the hard work of the Attorney-General in terms of both the passage of the Bill yesterday, but also in terms of the passage of the Bill last week. The Attorney-General has carried a significant legislative agenda, and I want to thank her for that. These Bills have been urgent. They have taken up resources within her Department, but also within her Office, and they should be acknowledged and thanked for the work that they have done.

That matter will be before the Upper House today, and I’m hopeful that we can see the passage of that Bill which will then enable a framework to be put in place to enable outcomes to be achieved between commercial tenants and commercial landlords.

And in the first instance, I do want to stress again that the most important thing that people can do is work together to find an outcome, so that as businesses come out of hibernation, as businesses that have been significantly impacted by COVID-19, that there is a pathway forward for both the landlord and for the tenant and that we can see our businesses reopen and begin providing services in the future, once we get to the other side of this.

Also, as I committed to yesterday, and next week I’ll be meeting with Ben Bartl of the Tenants' Union of Tasmania, in terms of the position that he’s put forward in respect of the Tenants Union and also with the Residential Tenancy Commissioner, to enable us to understand what the need is and, importantly, to be able to allocate sufficient funds to enable us to have and be able to provide the support where it’s needed.

But I will make the point, as I did yesterday, in terms of a lot of renters at the moment, especially those that have received Jobseeker payments, that is at an increase, over and above what it was, also for many casual workers. At the moment, they are receiving increases in terms of what they may take home as a result of JobKeeper.

But there are people that fall through the cracks, and we need to ensure that we can provide assistance to ensure that we can balance the needs of both the tenants and landlords in the residential space. And we will be working through that next week.

Tomorrow, as I’ve said, we’ll announce the road map and the way forward for Tasmania post National Cabinet. I do want to make the point again. We will march to the beat of our own drum. We will make decisions that are in the best interests of Tasmania, and I would encourage all Tasmanians to follow the Tasmanian rules. There is a lot of chatter and media activity in terms of what other states and territories may be doing. We have an older and more vulnerable population, and it is important that that remains at the forefront of our minds, as we step ourselves out of this.

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