The health, safety and wellbeing of Tasmanians has been our number one priority throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
At the same time, we understand the importance of providing as much certainty to businesses in these unprecedented times.
That’s why I am announcing today that based on Public Health advice, our border restrictions will remain in place until at least 1 December 2020, giving time for the COVID-19 situation in other states to be effectively brought under control.
It will also give us time to build the community’s trust in our border measures to protect Tasmania from areas in the rest of the country that pose a high risk, while allowing travel to and from areas that pose a very low risk.
Today’s announcement enables our businesses to prepare for border relaxations in time for our traditionally busier summer period and provides the certainty that our tourism and hospitality industry in particular has been asking for.
Without access to the interstate tourism market, we’ll be supporting our Tasmanian tourism and hospitality industry through a series of new initiatives designed to get Tasmanians holidaying at home and experiencing attractions in their own backyards, through incentivising them to travel to the tune of $7.5 million over three months. We’ll also be providing an additional $1.5 million for schools to conduct educational and enriching experiences for our students at our tourism, heritage and parks products.
We will also be supporting our agricultural sector through a new package to help mobilise Tasmanians looking for work to help with upcoming planting, production and harvest seasons, due to the impact of COVID-19 on seasonal worker availability.
The package includes a local agricultural jobs campaign encouraging Tasmanians to consider new career options, in conjunction with an EOI process.
As we’ll continue to have border restrictions in place for another three months, we will also further strengthen the stringent criteria already in place for essential travellers.
Currently, each application is assessed individually, based on the information provided, firstly, by the Biosecurity Tasmania team and then by the State Control team, with the final decision made by the State Controller.
The Department of State Growth will now also be involved in the assessment process, along with DPIPWE and the State Control team to provide another layer of review in the assessment process before the State Controller makes the final decision.
To ensure that the public is kept informed we will also make publicly available statistical and regional information regarding essential traveller exemptions granted to enter Tasmania, on a weekly basis, taking into account people’s individual privacy.
We cannot run the risk of a second wave in our state and I will not put Tasmanians at risk. We must continue to make decisions that are safe, sensible, and in the best interest of our State.