The COVID Law Monitor project covers changes in legislation, directives and emergencies powers that affect civil liberties and freedoms of people in Australia across all jurisdictions. There have been significant changes in legislation and policy in other areas such as social security, taxation and economic management and industry, and while important, these changes fall out of scope of this project.


New and Amended Tasmanian Laws

 

Last update: 28 May 2020

Contents

1. Public Health Act 1997 (TAS)

1.1 Background

1.2 Directions

1.3 Freedom of Assembly and the Ten Person Rule

1.4 Penalties

2. COVID-19 Disease Emergency (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act (No 2) 2020

 

1. Public Health Act 1997 (Tas)

1.1 Background

The Directions are made by the Director of Public Health under section 16 of the Public Health Act 1997 (TAS) while an emergency declaration is in force. 

The Public Health (Infringement Notices) Regulations 2012 contains a schedule of offences that are from the Public Health Act for which an infringement notice can be issued by an authorised officer or council. Authorised officer means: 

- the Director of Public Health; or

- a medical officer of health; or

- an environmental health officer.

The Public Health (Infringement Notices) Amendment Regulations 2020 amends the Regulation in order to allow an authorised officer or council to issue an infringement notice in respect of the breach of a Direction by the Director of Public Health.

The Directions are made by the State Controller under section 40 of the Emergency Management Act 2006 (TAS) while a state of emergency has been declared.  

Notices can be made under the COVID-19 Disease Emergency (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2020 (TAS), and are made with the purpose to reduce the risks to the State and the risk to, or hardship suffered by, members of the public arising from, or related to the presence of the disease in persons in the State or the risk of the spread of the disease between persons in the State. 

1.2 Directions under the Public Health Act 1997 (Tas)

The following Directions have been made by the Director of Public Health under section 16 of the Public Health Act 1997 (TAS):

Direction under Section 16 (Gatherings - No. 9). This Direction replaces the Gatherings- No. 8 direction. The number of people allowed to gather in indoor and outdoor settings is now 10. This may change depending on the size of the venue. Visits to households increase to up to 5 people at any one time (the 5 people is in addition to those who live in the house).

Direction under s16 (Isolation) (No 2)which directs that individuals diagnosed with COVID-19 to isolate until the person has been informed by a relevant authority that they are no longer required to isolate. 

Direction under s16 (Overseas visitors must isolate), which directs that individuals who have arrived in Australia from overseas at any time after midnight on 16 April 2020 are to complete a form and isolate themselves for 14 days from contact with all persons other than persons with whom they ordinarily reside. 

Direction under s16 (Specified persons) (No 2), which directs that individuals who are within a class of persons specified in the Schedule and who arrive in Tasmania at any time on or after 8 April 2020 must during the period of 14 days after they arrive in Tasmania, or for so long as there is an emergency declaration in effect under s14 of the Act in respect of the disease undertake the items listed in (a)-(g) of the direction.  These include taking certain health precautions, including monitoring themselves for symptoms, seeking medical advice and cover their mouth when coughing or sneezing.

Direction under Section 16 - Hospitals (No.4), this direction replaces the Hospital Direction (No.3), which expired on 18 May 2020. No patient visits will be permitted to hospitals except for: a parent or legal guardian visiting a child who is a patient at the hospital; a support person to attend the birth of a child; to provide end-of-life support to a patient; and to provide a patient with physical assistance, communication or comprehension assistance, or assistance with legal or administrative requirements.This direction also requires the operator of a Hospital in Tasmania to ensure that all visitors who enter, or remain on, the premises of the hospital have been screened.

Direction under Section 16 (Residential Aged Care Facilities - No. 6), which prohibits people entering or remaining on the premises of  residential aged care facilities unless they are a resident; an employee or contractor of the residential aged care facility; are providing goods or services; are providing health, medical or pharmaceutical services; are providing end of life support; or are providing a care and support visit. Residents at aged care facilities can now have one visit a day, of up to two visitors, for no longer than two hours.Visits should continue to take place  in the resident’s room, outdoors or in a designated area in the facility, not  in common areas.

Direction under Section 16 -(Stay at home requirements - No. 5), which directs persons to remain at their primary place of residence subject to a range of exceptions, including for purchasing supplies or services, attending a gathering that is lawfully permitted to occur, undertaking personal exercise, attending medical appointments, attending education, and attending work that cannot be performed at home. Persons leaving for one of the permitted purposes may only remain for as long as necessary to carry out that purpose.

Direction under s16 (Quarantine), which directs a person who has been notified at the direction of the Director of Public Health, that the person has been or is suspected on reasonable grounds of having been, exposed to the disease, to travel directly to a suitable place and remain subject to the exceptions. The person is to remain in quarantine at that place until at least 14 days have passed or if the suitable place is premises where a person diagnosed with the disease is also in isolation, at least 14 days have passed since each person diagnosed with the disease at those premises has been released from that isolation. 

Direction under s16 (Gatherings North-West Region), which prohibits each person who owns, controls or operates a retail or commercial premises in the North-West affect area from operating or remaining open. The direction does not apply to certain premises and services listed in the instrument. 

Direction under s16 (Quarantine North-West Region), which directs each person who at any time on or after 27 March 2020 is or was a relevant hospital employee at North West Regional Hospital or North West Private Hospital, a patient at either hospital, resided at premises where a patient or hospital employee also resided to quarantine for at least 14 days. 

The following directions have been made under the Emergency Management Act 2006 (TAS): 

Direction under section 40 - (Persons arriving in Tasmania), which provides all non-essential travellers arriving in Tasmania will be required to enter quarantine for 14 days. Tasmanian residents (not including King, Flinders and Furneaux Island group residents) must complete their 14 days of quarantine at their primary residence in Tasmania. Non-Tasmanian residents are required to complete their quarantine at Government provided accommodation. Essential Travellers that meet strict criteria and eligible maritime crew will be exempt from the 14 day quarantine requirement but must still comply with listed quarantine conditions directed by the Director of Public Health under section 16 of the Public Health Act 1997.

Direction under section 40 (King Island, Flinders Island and Islands in the Furneaux Group of Islands), which restricts travel to King Island, Flinders Island or any Island in the Furneaux group of islands unless specified in the direction. 

Each Direction expires at the time specified in the Direction, unless extended.

1.3 Freedom of Assembly and the Ten Person Rule 

1.3.1 Background

Under the ‘Direction under s16 (Gatherings) (No. 8)’ made under section 16 of the Public Health Act 1997 (TAS) following the declaration of an emergency under the Act, a person must not organise, attend or (if they own, control or operate a premises) allow a gathering specified by the Direction as prohibited. 

The type of gathering prohibited is one of 10 or more persons in a single indoor or outdoor space, irrespective of whether the space is public or private, subject to the exceptions. 

1.3.2 Exceptions

The following gatherings are not prohibited:

- gatherings of persons that ordinarily reside at the same private premises;

- at an airport that is necessary for the normal business of the airport;

- for the purposes of, or related to, public transportation, including in vehicles or at public transportation facilities such as stations, platforms and stops;

- in a private vehicle;

- in a large passenger vehicle operated as a passenger service within the meaning of the Passenger Transport Services Act 2011;

- on a ferry service or vessel service, operated between Australia, Tasmania or one or more islands, and certain requirements are met;

- at a medical or health service facility, including such part: of the facility used to provide physical rehabilitation services, that is necessary for the normal business of the facility; 

- for the purposes of emergency services; 

- at a disability or aged care facility that is necessary for the normal business of the facility; 

- at a prison, correctional facility, youth justice centre or other place of custody;

- at a court or tribunal; 

 -at Parliament for the purpose of its normal operations; 

- at a supermarket, grocery store, retail store or shopping centre for the purpose of the normal business of those premises; 

- at an office building, factory, mining site or construction site that is necessary for the normal operation of those premises; 

- at a school, university, educational institution or childcare facility that is necessary for the normal business of the facility and does not involve members of the community other than the staff and students of the school, university or educational institution;

- at an outdoor place where three (3) or more persons may be present for the purposes of transiting through the place; 

- at a veterinary establishment, within certain requirements;

- at a premises operated for commercial or other purposes, other than premises specified in Schedule 1 or residential premises, within certain requirements; and

- at a premises where services are provided, subject to certain requirements.

However, the following additional requirements apply to any gathering that does occur (even those within the exceptions):

- each person must maintain a distance of no less than 1.5 metres where safe and practicable;

- the total number of persons present in any single undivided space, at the same time, must not exceed the number calculated by dividing the total area of the space used, as measured in square metres, by 4,

unless the gathering is of persons who ordinarily reside at the same premises, or who share custody or care arrangements, or of persons involved in maintaining or renovating premises, delivering items to the premises, or in the case of emergency, in which case the additional requirements are not required and the gathering is permitted. 

1.4 Penalties

Under the Public Health Act 1997 (TAS), individuals who breach a Direction of the Director of Public Health face an offence carrying a maximum penalty of imprisonment for 6 months or a fine of up to $16,800 (or both) under the following conditions:

- the Director may apply to a magistrate for a warrant in relation to a person, if the person failed to comply with a Direction and in the opinion of the Director compliance with the Direction is necessary “for the purposes of managing a threat to public health or a likely threat to public health”, then

- the magistrate may only issue the warrant if they are similarly satisfied of this. The person is to then be brought before a magistrate as soon as practicable, unless they pose a health risk. In that case their representation can appear, or the court can agree not to bring the person forward.

- a magistrate may then order:

- that the person comply with the Direction.

- a variation of the Direction (if such a variation could have been directed by the Director).

- the person comply with a requirement (if the Director could have imposed such a requirement) and continue to do so until it is satisfied or the Director gives a declaration in relation to such an order.

However, due to the amended Regulation an authorised officer or council may also issue an infringement notice to a person over 16 imposing a fine of $756. An authorised officer or council may also issue an infringement notice to a body corporate imposing a fine of $4,998.

 

2. COVID-19 Disease Emergency (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act (No 2) 2020

The COVID-19 Disease Emergency (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act (No. 2) of 2020 (the Act) provides for special measures related to the effect of the COVID-19 disease emergency in Tasmania by amending or modifying the application of the Constitution Act 1934, Electoral Act 2004, COVID-19 Disease Emergency (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2020, Emergency Management Act 2006, Public Health Act 1997, Tasmanian Health Service Act 2018, Taxi and Hire Vehicle Industries Act 2008, Vehicle and Traffic Act 1999 and associated regulations.

 


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