26 September 2023

Legislative Assembly rejects media claims

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The Office of the Speaker of the ACT Legislative Assembly has come out against recent media reports that the Assembly does not have a COVID safety plan in place.

In a statement, the Office said the claim was “unequivocally and factually incorrect.”

“The Assembly has in place a COVID-19 safety Plan which includes a comprehensive risk register,” the Speaker’s Office said.

“The COVID-safe plan has been in place since June 2020 and all risk control measures are implemented as per this plan, inclusive of appropriate numbers of persons per spaces in the Assembly based on ACT health COVID guidelines,” it said.

“The plan is regularly reviewed and updated by both the Legislative Assembly Work Health and Safety Committee and the Standing Committee on Administration and Procedure.”

The Office said the Assembly’s Work Health and Safety Committee – which was established as the consultative and communicative forum responsible for overseeing the requirements of the WHS Act as they related to the Legislative Assembly and the Office of the Legislative Assembly – met quarterly, and the COVID safe plan was a standing agenda item.

“[The Committee] are an effective and engaged committee,” the Speaker’s Office said.

“Late last year the Office of the Legislative Assembly participated in the ACT Government COVID-19 Assurance Program and received an assessment report confirming the Assembly met the requirements of the program and had tailored responses in place that aligned with ACT Whole of Government policies.”

The Office said that both the Speaker and the Clerk of the Assembly took COVID safety very seriously and had provided COVID-safe updates to all members and staff of the Legislative Assembly regularly throughout the pandemic.

“All COVID-safe measures will continue and as has been the practice since 2020, all necessary efforts will be taken to ensure the safety of members and staff in the Assembly,” it said.

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