Peter Gutwein

Premier of Tasmania


Premier Peter Gutwein

There’s been quite a length National Cabinet meeting, with quite a bit to discuss.

Firstly, though, I’ll touch on New South Wales. That state remains very problematic and we still have very strong border controls in place.

We know that the Delta strain is a game changer. It’s as simple as that. We all need to be very vigilant as we move forward.

In terms of Victoria and South Australia, largely their outbreaks are contained. But both are classified as low risk, allowing travel between our states.

And while Queensland is classified as low risk, apart from high risk premises identified, and our Public Health authorities are closely monitoring the situation in Brisbane after a student tested positive for COVID-19.

We will provide updates over the course of the weekend as need be.

We have been discussing this afternoon the road map – the steps we will take to move through this.

Modelling by the Doherty Institute was discussed at National Cabinet today, and provides data to enable us to formulate a road map and a four-step approach out of this.

In terms of the four stage plan, I won’t speak for other states and territories, nor will I speak for the Prime Minister, who will stand up shortly to outline the outcome of National Cabinet.

What I can say, is that in principle, Tasmania has agreed to the four-step plan. There is still detail to be worked through. Tasmania, along with Victoria and the Northern Territory will form a working group to provide some of the granular detail in terms of some of the steps that we will take.

Importantly, what will need to occur as we move forward, is that we still maintain our COVID safe behaviours: good hygiene, social distancing, where possible and if necessary wearing masks, and staying home if you are unwell and getting a test even if you have mild symptoms. None of that changes.

It also means that for Tasmanians broadly, they have stepped into this positively, checking into premises for fast and accurate processing, and as we move forward, in terms of our restrictions, we will maintain them as they are at the moment. But we will respond on Public Health advice if we need to.

Most importantly, the four-step plan relies on vaccination rates being lifted to much higher levels to what they are today.

In Tasmania we’ve had very good outcomes so far, with around 47 per cent of eligible Tasmanians having their first dose, compared to less than 40 per cent nationally.

More than 23 per cent of eligible Tasmanians are fully vaccinated, compared to 17.5 per cent nationally.

However, we want to do more.

From Monday, vaccination centres will start taking all eligible people – that is those over the age of 16.

But all eligible people over the age of 30 now, will be able to book a vaccination, and there are spots available in August.

We’ll be opening up for people to be vaccinated over the age of 30, and you’ll be able to call or book in from tomorrow going forward.

In terms of AFL, over the weekend we have two AFL matches on.

If you’re lucky enough to have a ticket, when you turn up, bring your beanie, bring your scarf, and importantly – bring your mask.

In terms of coming weeks, with the AFL’s COVID safe protocols in place and the work that has been going on with Tasmania’s Public Health, I’m pleased to announced yet another opportunity next weekend, to watch Collingwood and Hawthorn at UTAS Stadium.

It will be, I believe, the first time Collingwood has played for Premiership points in Tasmania, and I believe the last time they were here they played a pre-season match.

More details will come about that upcoming fixture and it will be one that I’m sure will have great interest for Tasmanians.

In terms of travel vouchers, I know that Tasmanians have been eagerly awaiting more information on the third round of these vouchers.

From 5 August, Tasmanians will be able to enter their interest for these vouchers via phone or email.

They will then go into a ballot system, ensuring the process is accessible to as many Tasmanians as possible, we want to move away from a website that’s hit tens of thousands of times in a matter of seconds.

This will be a ballot system, and people will have time to lodge their interest.

Vouchers will be able to be booked seven days per week. Rather than just being mid-week, travel will include weekends as well, and there will be no requirement to travel outside your local government area.

Vouchers will be worth $300 each, and there will be a breakdown of $200 towards accommodation, and $100 towards tourism experiences or rental car hire.

A website will be launched next week with all the terms and conditions, and it will be supported with advertising which starts tomorrow to let Tasmanians know how to register.

I’d encourage Tasmanians, at this time, within the state, whilst we do have border and hot spot restrictions in place with other states, that Tasmanians take the opportunity to travel and support Tasmanian businesses.

Finally, I would just like to make the point that we are in a good place, but Delta is different. Delta is far more challenging than anything that has been faced before.

I once again encourage Tasmanians to do the right thing in terms of their hand hygiene, cover your coughs and sneezes, don’t turn up to a function if you feel unwell, and importantly, if you do feel unwell, self-isolate and get a test.