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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 09 Hansard (Thursday, 16 September 2021) . . Page.. 2595 ..


MS LEE: Chief Minister, when will you provide details regarding a clear path out of lockdown, giving Canberrans the hope and certainty they were expecting to hear on Tuesday?

MR BARR: As we indicated on Tuesday with the pathway out, some of the particular thresholds relate to vaccination rates that are both local and national, and the exact dates in relation to those are not yet known. However, we did indicate the general principles associated with a gradual easing of restrictions.

We have been through this before. The pathway last year is the guidance I can provide the community—that is, a gentle easing out of restrictions is what will occur. That will include density caps, caps in terms of the number of people in particular venues and gradual easing of restrictions over a period of weeks—potentially months, depending of course on case numbers. All of that detail—the high level principles, the indicators in relation to local case numbers, vaccination rates, TTIQ capability—as outlined in the pathway forward we released on Tuesday. The government will provide further information as we get closer to the end of the lockdown period, including a review point later this month and then obviously advice ahead of 15 October.

MRS JONES: Chief Minister, why are you unable to provide greater certainty to Canberrans, when you know roughly when the community will reach the vaccination thresholds required to see a safe easing of restrictions outlined in the national plan?

MR BARR: Because I do not know what the case rate will be in the ACT at that time. The government will rely on the advice of our Chief Health Officer and health officials. This will be a decision taken on the basis of the public health advice. This is not a decision that is subject to political pressure. This is not a decision that will be determined by the lobbying of the Canberra Liberals. This is a decision that will be taken on advice from the Chief Health Officer.

I know we have a lot of epidemiological experts; we have got a lot more in recent times! But let me assure the community that the advice that we will take will come from our Chief Health Officer and that that advice will be heeded.

ACT Health—COVID-19 quarantine

MRS JONES: My question is to the Minister for Health. Minister, the delays in providing advice to people in quarantine at the peak of our outbreak meant that at that peak, as a result of bureaucratic bungling, many people remained in quarantine an additional three days, causing some to miss vaccine appointments. Having had over 12 months to prepare for such an outbreak, why did the government not have systems in place to properly match information about people in quarantine with their test results?

MS STEPHEN-SMITH: I thank Mrs Jones for the question. Of course, this topic has been covered on a number of occasions in our frequent press conferences. There were a number of issues that led to the delay in being able to match people’s negative test


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