Speakers’ statement on construction operations at the Australian Parliament 17 March

Following ongoing discussions with Commonwealth health officials and agencies, Parliament’s settings for budget sittings, effective March 29, 2022, will remain largely unchanged from current operations. However, some limited measures will be introduced to reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19 while ensuring business continuity.

Arrangements currently in place that will continue, including:

  • Parliament will remain open to the public.
  • The Parliament shop will remain open.
  • Chairs and tables will remain in all catering outlets (and in outdoor courtyards).
  • The health and recreation center will remain open in accordance with ACT health guidelines (no current restrictions).
  • Both indoor and outdoor events will be permitted and will be conducted in accordance with ACT health guidelines. They will need a COVID-19 safety plan.
  • Staff can work from the building where convenient for employers and employees, in line with advice from ACT Health.

Chamber and Galleries of the House of Representatives.

  • All members will be permitted to sit in the Chamber of the House of Representatives and the public galleries will return to full capacity. Masks will be mandatory in the Chamber and galleries due to increased gallery attendance during budget sitting week.

Senate Chamber and Galleries

  • All senators will be admitted to the Chamber according to the regular seating plan. Masks in the Senate Chamber will not be required due to fewer Senators and greater physical distancing, but are strongly recommended when physical distancing is not possible (such as Question Time and Divisions ). The spacing in the galleries will mean masks will not be required but will be encouraged.

Other COVID safety measures will continue to operate in the building in line with ACT and Commonwealth health advice.

  • by entering the building, you acknowledge that you do not have symptoms and are not required to self-isolate under ACT’s health rules for those exposed to COVID-19
  • physical distancing markers at entry points with plexiglass screens at security points
  • people entering Parliament will be strongly encouraged to use masks where it is difficult to maintain physical distancing
  • for some Ministry of Parliamentary Services staff in critical positions, masks may still be required. For these personnel, this requirement will be confirmed by your manager.
  • good hand hygiene will continue to be encouraged with hand sanitizer available throughout the building, and
  • regular high-pressure cleaning in security screening areas.

Building occupants and visitors are reminded to stay home if you feel unwell and to get tested if you have symptoms of COVID-19.

The situation will be closely monitored and any changes will be communicated to building occupants.

/Public release. This material from the original organization/authors may be ad hoc in nature, edited for clarity, style and length. The views and opinions expressed are those of the authors.

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