Premier Peter Gutwein
This morning I’ve brought the Commissioner and State Controller Darren Hine with me again in terms of the announcement that we’re making this morning.
As I’ve said so many times in this room, Tasmanians’ safety remains our number one priority.
We’re now 54 days without a positive case of coronavirus, and Tasmanians should be congratulated for their efforts.
Testing in the state continues to be high with again around 500 tests conducted yesterday and more than 55,000 overall, and I once again encourage Tasmanians to get tested. You know, if you’ve got even the mildest of symptoms, make certain that you turn up and get a test.
The situation in Victoria is of course very concerning. While our island status is our best defence, we need to ensure that we do everything that we can, and that’s why yesterday we put in place the additional border measures to strengthen our safety, and we obviously must continue to monitor this situation as we move forward.
This morning, I spoke with the Leader of the Opposition and the Leader of the Greens to inform them that I’d taken advice last night in terms of our state of emergency status.
The state of emergency was extended for a period of four weeks from the 11th July and would have expired today. We’re going to extend the state of emergency until the end of August. This will align with the Public Health emergency which was in place until 31st of August as well.
I do want to thank this time the State Controller, Darren Hine, for the work that he has done to date and I’m certain the work that he will do into the future, along with Mark Veitch and all of Public Health and also our public hospital system as well for the very good work that they have done right through this.
The directions that are issued under the state of emergency managed by Commissioner Hine will be important as we maintain our border security moving forward.
While we have no evidence of coronavirus being in the state, it’s important that we remain vigilant and that we do everything that we possibly can to ensure that we reduce that risk.
It’s important to point out as well that the situation around the world is not getting better. It’s getting worse.
Nearly 12 million people have had coronavirus, and now there have been more than half a million deaths.
Closer to home, we know Victoria’s having significant challenges with escalating cases and, obviously, we’ll need to monitor that on an ongoing basis.
The situation in other states and territories is also evolving, and it’s important that we retain our state of emergency through this period, should we need to act.
Importantly, and I want to make this point very clearly, Tasmania does not have an emergency within the state’s boundaries at the moment, but what we do is we have the risk of one that is present as a result of what’s occurring in Victoria, and it’s important that we maintain our state of emergency to ensure that, should we need to react, that we can react swiftly.
Importantly, protecting Tasmania against that second wave has been something we have spoken about consistently throughout this process and it’s important that, as I’ve said, we have the powers in place to ensure that we can react, should we need to.
Tomorrow, following National Cabinet, I’ll confirm our position on our borders.
Obviously, very clearly yesterday, I ruled out opening up to Victoria on the 24th of this month.
We will continue to take advice tonight in terms of how we will treat and deal with other states and territories, and for obvious reasons there are some that are very safe at the moment.
South Australia has no evidence of community transmission, likewise the Northern Territory, likewise Queensland.
But, obviously, New South Wales is having some challenges at the moment, and in terms of the steps that they have taken we’ll need to be satisfied that that’s going to keep New South Wales free and clear of the challenges that are occurring in Victoria.
But I’ll have more to say on this tomorrow afternoon post National Cabinet.
Importantly, to all Tasmanians, as I’ve said on every occasion that I’ve been in this room, take personal responsibility, ensure that you manage your own personal hygiene, that you socially distance, that you follow the rules.
Do everything that you can to ensure that you keep yourself safe, your family safe and your community safe.
And, once again, I would thank Tasmanians for their assistance through this.
With that, I’ll take questions, and if there are any questions for the Commissioner, he’ll answer those as well.