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

Tasmanian Labor

· Public servants must be granted immunity to speak up on COVID outbreak

· Premier’s response in Parliament today doesn’t address the concerns of workers

· Hospital workers already fearful to have their say

The Premier must give a commitment 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 Premier in question time today failed to provide a commitment to health workers and public servants.

“While the Premier today said the terms of reference for the inquiry includes a confidentiality provision, this does not go far enough to protect those public servants who want to speak up,” Ms Dow said.

“The Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation and the Health and Community Services Union point out that 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.

“The State Service Act and the Public Interest Disclosures Act both do not provide sufficient protection for public servants to participate in inquiries.

“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.

“The Premier’s refusal to commit to granting immunity calls into question the Government’s commitment to a transparent review. This is another reason why Labor has called for a Royal Commission, which would provide protection to witnesses.”

Anita Dow MP

Labor Member for Braddon

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