Labor welcomes the granting of immunity to health workers and other public servants to participate in the independent inquiry into the North West COVID-19 outbreak but says immunity should have been confirmed before the close of submissions last Friday.
Shadow Health Minister Sarah Lovell said submissions should now be extended to ensure a full and frank review of circumstances surrounding the outbreak.
“The outbreak in the North West was one of the worst in the country, with one third of Tasmania’s hospitals closed, the military called in, nearly 5000 people forced into quarantine and the extended lockdown in the region,” Ms Lovell said.
“For this inquiry to be meaningful and deliver findings that provide genuine insights, people need to feel safe to provide evidence that clearly sets out what happened in the lead up to, and during, the North West outbreak.
“After calls from Labor and lobbying from unions on behalf of their members, the government has finally made the right decision and granted public sector workers immunity, giving them the confidence to speak freely at the inquiry.
“But these workers should have been given full protection from the start, particularly in light of the criticism and blame directed at them by the Chief Medical Officer and the Prime Minister during the outbreak, based on false information.
“Now that immunity has been confirmed, submissions should be reopened to ensure everyone with relevant information is able to contribute to a full and frank review.
“We want to learn all we can from this inquiry so we can prevent any further outbreaks and keep Tasmanians safe.”
Sarah Lovell MLC
Shadow Health Minister