Essential worker exemption process needs urgent overhaul

Tasmanian Labor
  • Essential workers must be tested
  • Community concerns growing
  • Exemptions should be reviewed in light of increased risk
  • Premier Peter Gutwein must take urgent steps to address serious shortfalls in his government’s exemption process for essential workers.

    Labor Leader Rebecca White said community concern is growing about workers being granted exemptions from quarantine, particularly in light of the worsening COVID-19 outbreak in Victoria.

    “Currently, people who have been granted essential worker status can enter the state and move around the community without having to be tested for COVID-19,” Ms White said.

    “All of these people are coming here from Victoria, either through Melbourne Airport or on the Spirits of Tasmania.

    “This is a serious oversight that risks undoing all of the good work of the Tasmanian community to eradicate the virus from our state.

    “The government must immediately require all essential workers coming into the state to demonstrate they are COVID-19 free before they are granted an exemption from quarantine.

    “Recent steps to require workers coming in from lock down suburbs in Melbourne to wear masks while in Tasmania are grossly inadequate. We would question how this requirement is being enforced on worksites.

    “It is our understanding that there are workers entering Tasmania under permits that are many weeks old. All permits that have been issued since the start of the Public Health Emergency should be renewed in light of the increased risk in Victoria.

    “The government’s approach to granting exemptions for essential workers has been questionable at best. We cannot allow holes in this process to spark a second wave of the virus, which would be devastating for our community and our economy.”

    Rebecca White MP

    Labor Leader

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