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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 11 Hansard (Tuesday, 9 November 2021) . . Page.. 3125 ..


returned to the ACT, ACT Health would have honoured that. Instead, they had a conversation with those people. Each of those people had completed an exemption form that very explicitly identified what fully vaccinated meant in the context of those travel requirements, and had returned to the ACT following the completion of that exemption form—or certainly they should have completed it before they returned to the ACT. That was a very clear part of the rules. Following those conversations, people were happy to continue to abide by the stay-at-home, not quarantine, rules.

MRS JONES: Did you or the Chief Minister ask the Chief Health Officer to change her rules to match your public statements?

MS STEPHEN-SMITH: I think that if Mrs Jones checks the record, she will find that there was no public statement by me or the Chief Minister in regard to this matter.

I think it probably is helpful to go back a bit and see how this situation probably arose. The Chief Minister announced the changes to travel requirements on 27 October to take effect from 1 November. At that time, it was identified that high-risk geographical areas would be identified by ACT Health as part of these changes in the travel requirements and that people who were not fully vaccinated would require an exemption.

Unfortunately, with the benefit of hindsight, this probably should have been done a bit differently, but there was no actual media release or announcement when ACT Health and the Chief Health Officer made those decisions about high-risk geographical areas and determined the detail of what those requirements were going to be.

The Chief Health Officer had previously publicly identified that, for the purposes of TTIQ changes—test, trace, isolate and quarantine changes—her definition of fully vaccinated would be 14 days from having received that second dose. She very clearly articulated that in the context of TTIQ, but when those changes to travel arrangements were made and when that public health direction was written, there was in fact no public statement and no media release on that day.

So I absolutely acknowledge that, with the benefit of hindsight, looking back, we probably should have clarified and made a public announcement in relation to that so that everyone was really, really clear. When you completed that exemption form, those requirements were clear, and they were subsequently updated on the website as well. I am advised that the website for the changes from 1 November also included this information if people had looked at it before 1 November.

MR PARTON: Given that seven people have been forced to stay at home on the basis of rules that did not actually exist at the time, will you be providing compensation under the Human Rights Act to those people for their home detention?

MS STEPHEN-SMITH: As I have indicated to Mr Parton, ACT Health had a conversation with those people. They did in fact complete an exemption form which told them very clearly what the requirements were going to be and what the definition of “fully vaccinated” was. There was an error in the drafting of the public health direction. That was an error. The reason for that was most likely that there was a


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