Published: 31 October 2023

Legislative Council, Tuesday 31 October 2023


With regard to the ‘COVID buses’ that were utilised as part of the COVID-19 response as mobile vaccination and testing vehicles;

1. Are these vehicles still part of the Government fleet; and if so:
a. what are they currently being used for; and
b. if they are not currently being used, what are the plans, if any, for future utilisation?

2. If these buses have been disposed of, what process was used for their disposal?


In 2020 four buses were acquired by the Department of Health and fitted out to provide the administrative base for mobile COVID-19 testing clinics. These buses and associated infrastructure were deployed to remote areas to provide testing capacity when it was required.

When testing clinics were stood down at the end of January 2023, the Department developed Guidelines for Stand Up of COVID-19 Testing Clinics. The buses have been stored and associated equipment maintained so that the buses are available at short notice if required.

The COVID-19 risk-level is currently low. Tasmania’s testing strategy has transitioned from large scale population-based testing to a focus on symptomatic individuals at higher risk. Rapid Antigen Tests are widely available and pathology services provide COVID-19 PCR tests upon referral from a GP or via COVID@homeplus, for those at higher risk.

Current testing demand in Tasmania is stable. There is sufficient flexibility to withstand testing demand that is expected to be associated with future waves of COVID-19. Public Health Services advises that it is highly unlikely there would be a role for mobile testing buses as part of future COVID-19 testing in Tasmania.

Accordingly, the Department of Health is writing to all Heads of Agency offering the buses free of charge. If no agency expresses interest in acquiring the buses by the end of November 2023, the Department will arrange for their sale in accordance with the Tasmanian Government disposal process outlined in the Treasurer’s Instructions.

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