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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 10 Hansard (Friday, 8 October 2021) . . Page.. 2958 ..

COVID-19 pandemic—safe working arrangements for the ACT public sector

Ministerial statement

MR GENTLEMAN (Brindabella-Manager of Government Business, Minister for Corrections, Minister for Industrial Relations and Workplace Safety, Minister for Planning and Land Management and Minister for Police and Emergency Services) (10.08): The ACT government has comprehensive work health and safety measures in place to ensure the health and safety of territory public servants during the COVID-19 pandemic. The response to public health directions, including the ACT lockdown, was swift, and territory public servants are working from home wherever possible. For those working on the front line, providing essential health and community services, strict protective measures are in place to prevent the spread of infection in workplaces.

These new work health and safety arrangements build on the continuing proactive measures that have been in place across ACT public sector workplaces during the pandemic. It is important that our response to the pandemic aligns with the requirements in place for managing COVID-19 in the ACT community.

The outbreak of COVID-19 in the ACT has brought new challenges, with community transmission and ACT government workplaces being exposure locations for the first time. This has required a work health and safety response to ensure that territory public servants are supported to get tested and to quarantine or isolate as required.

Workforce arrangements such as flexible provisions and the availability of COVID-19 leave have worked in conjunction with new work health and safety guidance to support employees, managers and workplaces to respond appropriately and proportionately to cases of exposure.

The whole-of-government work health and safety response to the pandemic continues to occur on two fronts: ensuring that risks of exposure to COVID-19 are identified and managed in all workplaces; and supporting the health, safety and wellbeing of territory public servants during their changed working arrangements.

The ACT public sector has implemented, and continues to implement, a COVID-19 work health and safety framework, with associated guidance and policies. It requires all ACT government workplaces to implement controls to eliminate or minimise the risk of transmission of COVID-19.

The framework is based on the guidance of expert international and national health bodies, the expert health advice of the Australian government and ACT Health, and Safe Work Australia, which is leading the response for workplace management of COVID-19.

Public health directions are followed in all ACT government workplaces. Core measures in place across all ACT government workplaces continue to be physical distancing, including spacing of office workstations and capacity limits in buildings and other workplaces; contact tracing, including use of the Check In CBR app in all

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