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: 23 July 2020

Contents

1. Public Health Act 1997 (TAS)

1.1 Background

1.2 Directions

1.3 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 s 16 (Management of premises - No. 1): This direction replaces the previous gathering direction and imposes obligations on occupiers of premises (residential and non-residential) restricting large gatherings and specified business activities.

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. 9: This direction replaces Direction under Section 16 - Residential Aged Care Facilities - No. 8. In this direction, visits by family and friends are allowed to provide care and support to residents with certain limits imposed.

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 TasmaniaFrom 17 July 2020, an affected person must not enter Tasmania unless they are a resident of Tasmania or an authorised person. If someone is not a resident or authorised persons and arrives in Tasmania, they must leave Tasmania as soon as possible if required to do so by an authorised officer. Any person subject to these directions who are permitted to enter Tasmania are required to isolate for 14 days at an accommodation facility specified to them by an authorised officer.

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 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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