An essential traveller exemption granted for a hotel executive to enter Tasmania was not reviewed by the State Controller, a Parliamentary committee has heard.
Tourism and Hospitality Services Australasia managing director Rodger Powell was granted essential traveller status in July to attend the opening of Crowne Plaza in Hobart and sign off on the hotel’s handover to InterContinental Group.
During a hearing of the Public Accounts Committee’s COVID-19 inquiry, Elwick Labor MLC Josh Willie asked State Controller Darren Hine if he had requested a review of the highly-publicised exemption.
“There was no point to. It had already occurred,” Commissioner Hine said.
“The exemption was solid and sound in relation to that individual.”
Commissioner Hine also expressed his confidence in Tasmania’s hotel quarantine system.
“Am I satisfied [what occurred in Victoria] won’t occur here? I am satisfied it is very well run,” Commissioner Hine said.
“They are run very professionally, very stringently and the police do call in from time to time.”
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Commissioner Hine said security guards employed at quarantine hotels were free to go about their lives as normal, including undertaking other employment.
He said the security guards were employed by the Department of Communities, the department responsible for running the quarantine hotels.
“The risk to the security guards in the hotel is very low,” he said.
“The risk is greatly reduced compared to what occurred in Victoria.
“All the work they undertake [in the hotel] is contactless.
“The security guards wear PPE gear, they have PPE training.”
Since a fee for hotel quarantine was introduced on July 31, the number of travellers entering the hotels has decreased.
Commissioner Hine said there were 298 people in hotel quarantine on Thursday night but the peak before July 31 was 868 people.
He said he would be recommending to Premier Peter Gutwein the state of emergency, first declared on March 19, be extended for a further eight weeks past its expiry on August 31.
Police Minister Mark Shelton told the committee, as of August 18, police had conducted more than 23,000 compliance checks on people in home quarantine.
Mr Shelton said police had issued 586 warnings in relation to non-compliance, provided advice to 637 people, and issued 20 infringements and caution notices to individuals and businesses.
Police have received 6694 reports of people failing to comply with a public health direction, Mr Shelton said.