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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 10 Hansard (Wednesday, 6 October 2021) . . Page.. 2748 ..

Section 40B of the Human Rights Act requires all public authorities to give proper consideration and act in a compatible way with human rights. Throughout the declared public health emergency, and in preparing each of the public health directions made under the Public Health Act, the Chief Health Officer has been guided by the human rights provisions and principles. In all instances, the intention of the directions has been to protect the lives and health of the Canberra community by preventing and reducing wherever possible the spread of COVID-19, while ensuring that directions are reasonable, balanced and compatible with the act.

Since early 2020, these protections have been achieved through public health directions imposing mandatory self-isolation of persons who are confirmed to have COVID-19 and quarantine for contacts of such persons; restrictions on the conduct of certain non-essential businesses and undertakings that enforce stronger physical distancing in settings in which people would ordinarily gather; restrictions on movement, including entry to settings that are at greater risk from COVID-19 due to the presence of vulnerable persons, such as in aged care facilities; and restrictions on entry into the ACT from identified COVID-19 affected areas, including quarantine requirements or limitations on movement. As a result of the most recent outbreak in the ACT, the Chief Health Officer has reviewed the statement which outlines her considerations of the human rights implications imposed through public health directions. I present the following paper:

Consideration of human rights implications of imposed Public Health Emergency Directions—Update: October 2021, dated 6 October 2021.

It is timely to remind Canberrans to continue to maintain COVID safe behaviours and keep up to date with the latest health advice to protect our community. This is extremely important as we move ahead with the ACT’s pathway forward and as lockdown restrictions are eased later this month. Staying COVID safe means staying home if you are unwell; getting tested with the mildest of COVID-19 symptoms and as soon as symptoms start; physically distancing from people outside of your household, at least 1.5 metres; practising good hand and respiratory hygiene; checking in everywhere you go with the Check In CBR app; and getting vaccinated to protect yourself and the community.

I particularly want to thank and encourage all Canberrans for using the Check In CBR app as this is essential to our contact-tracing efforts. As of 5 October, 25,796 venues had registered with Check In CBR. Approximately 58.9 million check-ins had been recorded, and almost 9,000 Check In CBR cards had been requested. Legislation was passed by the Assembly in September which provides a greater level of security for personal information collected by Check In CBR, to ensure that personal information can only be used for contact-tracing purposes in accordance with the public health directions.

The Health Protection Service, Access Canberra and ACT Policing are continuing to undertake compliance, community and business engagement, and enforcement activity across the ACT to help protect the community as the pandemic response continues. WorkSafe ACT also has responsibility for supporting the building and construction industry to comply with industry-specific COVID-19 requirements.

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