South Australian Premier reveals exemption talks in place at national level for border applications
Story by Christian Fleetwood
The vaccination status of returning South Australians could become part of the process of receiving an exemption for entering our state, with Premier Steven Marshall revealing this is being considered at the national level.
During Question Time in state parliament Member for Mount Gambier Troy Bell asked the Premier whether a person’s vaccination status would affect their application or place in the queue for either returning South Australian residents or those waiting for exemptions.
Premier Marshall responded this was being considered at National Cabinet level now, but said the only statement his government had made was in relation to essential workers coming to SA from Level 6 jurisdictions, like NSW currently.
If somebody is coming in for 14 days of quarantine from a Level 6 jurisdiction, they need to work during that 14 days, then they need to have had at least one vaccination, he said.
“It has not been implemented yet, but we announced (on August 24) that within a 72-hour period, this is very likely to come in following consultation with the industry,” the Premier said.
“We know this has already been introduced in one other jurisdiction, Queensland. We think that, given the situation in New South Wales … we have no alternative but to basically increase the level of protection we have for our borders.”
But Mr Marshall said he believed it would be unfair to put heavy restrictions on people who were unvaccinated, because not everyone has had the opportunity to be vaccinated yet.
“The sole exception that has been agreed to at the National Cabinet level so far has been workers in aged-care settings,” he said, in response to Mr Bell’s question.
“We put a public health order in place here in South Australia to make sure that by 17 September all people who are working within an aged-care facility will have had at least one dose of the vaccine.
“That is a nationally agreed National Cabinet-endorsed position. We put our order in place using the public health order that will come into effect on September 17. With regard to any other vaccination-required activity, there is nothing which is specifically contemplated at the moment.”
In addition, Mr Marshall said the South Australian government was looking to make it easy for people to identify whether they have been vaccinated using the mySA GOV application.
Currently, when Australians go to be vaccinated, their vaccination is registered on the Australian Immunisation Register (AIR).
Mr Marshall said the state government would create an interface which would query the AIR to see if there has been a changed status and, if there is, it will be displayed on a person’s mySA GOV app.
“This is the same app the vast majority of South Australians are now using for their QR code check-in,” Mr Marshall said.
“As part of that, there will also be an ability for them to say, ‘I have been vaccinated,’ or not.
“One of the complexities there is somebody who has been determined medically not to have been suitable for vaccination, so we will be working on an arrangement around that so they are not disadvantaged.”