Premier must grant immunity to public servants for COVID-19 inquiry 7 July

Tasmanian Labor
  • Public servants must be granted immunity to speak up on NW outbreak
  • Draft Terms of Reference don’t offer protection
  • If Gutwein is serious about transparency, he must offer immunity
  • Labor has again called on Premier Peter Gutwein to grant immunity to health workers and other public servants to participate in the independent inquiry into the North West COVID-19 outbreak.

    Labor Member for Braddon Anita Dow said the draft Terms of Reference for the inquiry do not provide adequate protections for public servants.

    “Tasmania has seen one of the worst outbreaks in the country at the North West Regional Hospital. One-third of Tasmania’s hospitals were closed, the military was called in, nearly 5000 people were forced into quarantine and the North West was locked down.

    “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.

    “The Terms of Reference include a confidentiality provision, but that doesn’t go far enough to protect people.

    “In the absence of explicit protections, public servants will be understandably concerned about reprisals if they disclose information that in many cases could be traced back to them.

    “Hospital workers are already fearful to speak up after they were targeted and publicly blamed for the outbreak – including by the Chief Medical Officer and the Prime Minister – based on false information.

    “If Premier Peter Gutwein is serious about a transparent review of the outbreak, he will act to remove any barrier that could prevent someone speaking up.”

    Public consultation on the draft Terms of Reference closes tomorrow.

    Anita Dow MP

    Labor Member for Braddon

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