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Greens secure safeguards and transparency measures in SA Public Health (COVID-19) Bill

18 May 2022

Future directions relating to close contacts and COVID-19 positive people will be scrutinised by a new parliamentary committee, after an amendment introduced by The Greens passed the Legislative Council tonight.

The COVID-19 Direction Accountability and Oversight Committee will have the power to consider COVID-19 directions and make recommendations to both houses of parliament to disallow directions or regulations as they see fit. The committee will be dominated by the opposition and crossbench to allow for increased accountability and transparency in dealing with COVID-19 over the next six months.

“This is an important transparency and accountability measure,” said Greens Health Spokesperson, Robert Simms MLC. “Now, for the first time, there will be a Direction Accountability Oversight Committee that can make recommendations for the parliament to consider and carefully scrutinise COVID directions. Importantly, it’s legislated that this committee won’t be controlled by the Government, ensuring genuinely independent oversight.”

Other measures negotiated with the Government by the Greens and SA Best include:

  • Inserting the provisions of the Public Health Act that protect individual rights.
  • Establishing rights of appeal for those forced to quarantine outside of their home.
  • Tabling of health advice in the parliament.

The SA Public Health (COVID-19) Amendment Bill passed the Legislative Council tonight and will expire in six months.