Fly-in, fly-out workers say the state government needs to consult with them, after a requirement for FIFOs to quarantine for 14 days upon reentering Tasmania was lifted in the wake of strong criticism.
Last Friday, Premier Peter Gutwein announced that from Monday, September 21, FIFO workers coming from non-COVID-affected jurisdictions could return to Tasmania without having to go into home quarantine.
But several workers were incensed to receive emails from the government telling them they were ineligible for the exemption because they had been working interstate for less than 14 days.
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Somerset man Nathan Boag, who is working at a mine in Queensland, said yesterday that he had departed Tasmania on September 9 and was returning to the state today. He said he had still been told he would be ineligible for the new exemption.
"We had to cancel our current quarantine exemption to be able to apply for the exemption to not have to quarantine. The response I got was ... 'You haven't been gone 14 days'," Mr Boag said. "But all the evidence has been clearly supplied."
Mr Boag said he was "excited" the government had eased the requirement, reducing it to seven days, after the matter was raised by Deputy Opposition Leader Michelle O'Byrne in State Parliament yesterday.
But he said it highlighted that there had been a lack of effort from the government to consult with FIFO workers.
"Communication would be a great thing," Mr Boag said. "But no-one wants to talk."
Mr Gutwein had to admit he wasn't aware of the 14-day requirement but said he would consult Public Health.
The government issued a statement about two hours after Question Time, in which a spokesperson said the State Control Centre had initially sought to put in place a 14-day "threshold" for FIFO workers returning from low-risk jurisdictions.
But the spokesperson said this had now been reduced to seven days "following discussions with Public Health".
Ms O'Byrne said the "hasty backflip" raised questions over whether the government was, indeed, making decisions based on public health advice.
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