Peter Gutwein

Premier of Tasmania

PRESS CONFERENCE - 9 APRIL 2020

Premier Peter Gutwein

In terms of the North West Coast, our outbreak management team is being resourced up. It’s working very hard, and it is tracking and tracing, and it will continue to track and trace to get on top of this.

In terms of the weekend that’s coming up. I want to make this point, I want to make it perfectly, clearly and succinctly, so that people can understand it. In the main Tasmanians are doing the right thing, and I thank them for it. But there is a percentage of Tasmanians that aren’t.

In the last two weeks, I’ve had to say to parents who wanted their children to come back from interstate to attend a family funeral that they can’t, because they need to be in quarantine.

We have knocked back numerous requests from families to attend funerals where they wanted more people than the 10 allowed, and we’ve been saying no.

Parents have had to suffer the indignity of making contact with me to ask if they can have a family meeting to explain to their children that one of them is gravely ill, and yet we still have Tasmanians who are flaunting the rules.

I have been fair, I have been reasonable and I have taken every step and every precaution that we can to save lives. But we will only save lives, if Tasmanians follow the rules.

And, to be frank, today the gloves come off.

I’ve spoken to the Police Commissioner this morning. We are going to police this. The period of education is over.

If you go to a shack and you shouldn’t be there and you don’t have a reasonable excuse to be there and you get a knock on the door, you’ll be asked to leave and go back to your primary residence.

If you don’t leave, then you can be arrested. You’ll be summonsed and you’ll be charged. The penalty will be up to six months in gaol or $16,800.

You know, this is serious.

Today, we’ll be putting helicopters up. There’ll be eyes in the sky. We want to ensure that we protect Tasmanians.

It is not good enough to be hearing reports of campers and trailers heading to the East Coast. It is simply not good enough to think that you can blatantly break these rules. People’s lives are being put at risk.

For the people that have paid the price, for those families that have had to suffer the indignity of making their requests, because they wanted to do the right thing, because they are doing the right thing. For the thousands of businesses that have been shut down, the tens of thousands of Tasmanians that have lost their jobs, I ask Tasmanians to do the right thing.

Stay at home and save lives.

In terms of the North West Coast, we have an outbreak. We’ll be paying special attention to the North West Coast. Don’t be surprised if you are stopped by the police and asked what you are doing. Don’t be surprised if you are at a shack and you get a knock on the door. And if you don’t have a reasonable excuse, then you’ll be asked to leave, or you’ll be summonsed and charged.

It is that simple. We need you to do the right thing.

I have said continuously that our shack communities, our seaside villages, are largely retirement villages. We don’t want you travelling there.

We have put restrictions in place in terms of where you can launch a boat. We don’t want you heading to the Coast for Easter.

We have in front of us five of the most critical days through to next Tuesday, and I ask Tasmanians to abide by the rules.

Prof Lawler said it yesterday. This is about protecting your pregnant sister, it’s about protecting your mum and dad, it’s about protecting your children, it’s about protecting your community.

We have the benefit of being an island state. If we were New South Wales, right now, at the moment, we’d have around 280 cases. We have a little over 100. We are in front of the pack. I want to keep us there. But we can only keep Tasmania safe if we follow the rules.

And so, unless you have a reasonable excuse to be out of your home, don’t be surprised if the police stop you and ask you, and don’t be surprised if you face the full front of the law over this weekend.

It is serious. We need to get on top of this.

The North West Coast will effectively be in lockdown. The rules are strict. We ask people to abide by them. They will be policed. It is important that we all do everything that we possibly can.

And I say to those Tasmanians that are, I’m sorry that we are in this situation. It gives me no pleasure at all to have had to introduce the laws and the rules that we have. But if you blatantly break them, then expect to feel the full force of the law. It is that simple.

People’s lives are at risk, and we need to do everything that we can to ensure that we keep people safe.

I said yesterday that this Easter will be unlike any Easter that people have faced before, but I would encourage people to use the phone, to video conference, to talk to family and friends, but importantly, follow the rules. It’s important that we do.

We can stay on top of this, but we can only stay on top of this, if you work with us and, importantly, if you stay home, stay safe and, importantly, work with us to save lives.

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