Shadow Minister for Health, Bill Yan, says Territorians deserve greater transparency from the Gunner Labor Government about the state of our public health emergency. That’s why the CLP Opposition is introducing a Bill to ensure regular reporting from the Chief Health Officer (CHO) to Territorians, through Parliament – which isn’t happening under current legislation.
“Under the current legislation, the Chief Health Officer is required to report to Parliament within three months after the emergency declaration has ceased. That means there is no obligation to report while the emergency declaration is still in effect.
“In response to COVID, in March 2020, the Government changed the legislation to allow a state of emergency to last ninety (90) days, and be extended by ninety days at a time – indefinitely.
“It no longer makes sense to have a reporting period after a state of emergency that has already lasted almost two years, and could potentially be extended beyond 2022. There has to be accountability of the government and it is not acceptable that with Labor continuously extending the emergency period – Territorians have never seen a single report by the CHO.
“Our Bill will ensure that the latest official health advice is made available to all members of Parliament, businesses, organisations and the public every three months – at a minimum – during the state of emergency, instead of after the emergency declaration has ceased.
“This will provide a more efficient, real-time reporting model. Providing a report to Parliament is already required under the Act. These amendments will ensure more frequent reporting so that critical advice and decision-making is available to Territorians.
“Territorians and businesses – which were forced to bear the burden of implementing Michael Gunner’s vaccine mandate – deserve to know what action is being taken, the outcomes of those actions, and the health advice being provided to the Government during the state of emergency.
“There have been numerous failures in the Government’s handling of the NT Health system and COVID, which has eroded public trust in Government’s ability to handle COVID:
- A bungled remote vaccine rollout, despite concerns raised by the CLP more than six months ago, with many communities still below target;
- Four Code Yellow critical staff and bed shortages at Royal Darwin Hospital;
- The closure of multiple remote health clinics;
- A Health Minister who does not know her own staff shortages;
- A Chief Minister whose hysterical rants are unhelpful and divisive;
- Government’s failure to disclose key data, including vaccines rates; and
- Constant rule changes, with the burden to implement them squarely on the shoulders of Territory businesses.
“The government has six (6) CHOs providing them advice. Territorians deserve to know what that advice is and how government is implementing that advice. “Territorians deserve openness, transparency and a Government that won’t hide from scrutiny – and that is why this legislation is so important. If Labor have nothing to hide, they will support this very straightforward Bill,” said Mr Yan.