Essential worker exemption applications will undergo additional scrutiny but Labor says the process continues to put Tasmanians at risk.
Premier Peter Gutwein announced on Tuesday the Department of State Growth would now be involved in the process to add another layer of review before the State Controller makes the final decision on an application.
“State Growth are able to do a high-level scan of skills across the state and provide further advice to the work already being undertaken by Biosecurity Tasmania,” Mr Gutwein said.
“To ensure the public is kept informed we will also make publicly available statistical and regional information regarding essential traveller exemptions granted to enter Tasmania, on a weekly basis, taking into account people’s individual privacy.”
But Labor leader Rebecca White said the changes did not go far enough to protect Tasmania.
“The biggest risk to all is the fact that people are coming into this state and going straight to a worksite without having to be tested first for coronavirus,” she said.
“There is not a robust enough process to ensure a Tasmanian can do the job first.”
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Earlier on Tuesday during Question Time, Labor leader Ms White called on the Premier to commit to a review of the exemption process which she said lacked transparency and was in dire need of an overhaul.
“Almost daily we are hearing stories of workers being granted exemptions for reasons that are all but essential,” Ms White said.
Mr Gutwein said criticism of the exemption process had been largely unfair.
“There have been some difficult decisions that have been made. I know that the people that make them wrestle with them,” Mr Gutwein said.
“The rules underpinning these exemptions are put in place by public health.
“I’m not going to second guess those decisions because they were made on advice.”
Mr Gutwein also told the Parliament all 64 COVID-19 recovery recommendations made by the Premier’s Economic and Social Recovery Advisory Council have been accepted by the government.
He said six of the recommendations had already been implemented and 28 were in progress.
“The remaining 30 recommendations proposed by PESRAC are supported by the government and will be implemented as soon as possible,” Mr Gutwein said.
Labor infrastructure spokesman Shane Broad questioned why the Liberals had broken their 2018 election promise to deliver the new Spirits of Tasmania vessels by 2021.
Infrastructure Minister Michael Ferguson said a lot had changed since 2018 including the fact one of the world’s biggest shipbuilders had gone belly-up and there was a global recession due to COVID-19.
“I would have thought it was so obvious to members here that a lot had changed,” Mr Ferguson said.
When asked how many Tasmanian jobs would be created should the vessels be built in Australia, Mr Ferguson said this was something the group tasked with reviewing the build options would determine.
Braddon Liberal MHA Felix Ellis was sworn in for his first day of Parliament.
Mr Ellis was elected on Monday on a countback following the resignation of Liberal Joan Rylah last month.
Mr Gutwein said Franklin Liberal MHA Jacquie Petrusma and Lyons Liberal MHA John Tucker would replace Ms Rylah as Parliamentary secretaries.