18 March 2020 – Emergency health laws passed

Type of Intervention: Advisory, Executive Order, Regulation, Specific Action
Sectors Involved: Civil Defence, Executive Office, Health, Local Government
Intervention Categories: Social and physical distancing measures; Gatherings, businesses, and services; Legal and policy; Regulatory change; Enforcement actions
Level of Jurisdiction: Queensland
Lead People/Agency: Queensland Minister for Health and Minister for Ambulance Services
The Honourable Steven Miles

Overview: New Queensland laws to slow down the spread of COVID-19

Changes to the Queensland Public Health Act 2005 will give Queensland Health’s Chief Health Officer and emergency officers more powers to contain the outbreak of COVID-19.

Queensland Minister for Health and Ambulance Services Steven Miles said the Queensland Public Health and Other Legislation (Public Health Emergency) Amendment Bill 2020 was introduced in Queensland Parliament March 18, 2020, to amend the Queensland Public Health Act 2005.

Under this new legislation, the Queensland Chief Health Officer will be issuing public health directions to ban non-essential gatherings in outdoor areas of more than 500 people, and non-essential gatherings of 100 people indoors.

This will affect entertainment venues, function centres, pubs and clubs and large restaurants.

It will not affect airports, public transport, medical facilities, emergency services, aged care, prisons, courts, our parliament, supermarkets, offices, schools, universities or construction sites.

Emergency officers, which may include Queensland public health officers, will be provided with additional powers to assist in containing or responding to the spread of COVID-19 within the community.

Other Queensland laws passed on March 18 included a $13,000 fine for anyone found flouting direct orders from Queensland’s top health officials.

The Queensland state’s constitution was altered to allow for ministers to convene with the Governor for the immediate ascension of bills via video conferencing, if needed.
Full details here: http://statements.qld.gov.au/Statement/2020/3/18/new-laws-to-slow-down-the-spread-of-covid19

Other links: 1
Type of Justification: Advice of INTERNAL government advisory committee or group, Advice of EXTERNAL expert advisor or advisory committee, Advice of Federal Government and health experts
Source of Evidence or Justification: National – academic, National – government
Evidence/Justification: “We are following the advice of the Australian Government and health experts as we respond to this outbreak.

“Measures are changing daily as the number of confirmed cases rise across the world.”

“Queensland Health’s Chief Health Officer Dr Jeannette Young said additional powers and social distancing measures were essential to ensure the safety of Queenslanders, especially the most vulnerable in our communities.”