Legislative Council Thursday 19 March, 2020
Ms FORREST question to LEADER of the GOVERNMENT in the LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL, Mrs HISCUTT
(1) With regard to the potential impact of COVID-19 on TT-Line, what specific risks, including financial and operational, have been identified by TT-Line?
(2) What risk management controls are in place to address and or mitigate each of these risks?
(3) What measures are being taken to educate and inform staff and customers of TT-Line to reduce risk?
Mr President, I thank the member for Murchison for her question. My answer is qualified - it was received after Question Time yesterday, so it may not be up-to-date today with regard to TT Line.
Ms Forrest - We ran out of time, and I did not get a turn on Tuesday.
Mrs HISCUTT - For (1), TT-Line is working with federal and state authorities in relation to COVID-19. It will continue to provide information to its passengers and crew in line with that provided by authorities, to limit the spread of COVID-19. It is expected there will be some financial repercussions from COVID-19 on the company as customers make decisions about their travel plans into the future.
(2) TT-Line is part of the Tasmanian Government's COVID-19 North Western State Emergency Management Committee, which will provide urgent health alerts to the company. On the vessels, the following information can be advised - I would like to put that precursor again: this is a moveable feast.
Ms Forrest - It obviously will have changed.
Mrs HISCUTT - What was appropriate yesterday may not be appropriate today, or tomorrow, for that matter -
• A medical attendant is on board at all times and will work with the crew to implement procedures should any passenger or crew member present with symptoms. TT-Line is actively mitigating risks of further infection through public information onboard vessels as well as providing facilities to isolate its suspected cases. Two cabins per shift have been allocated for isolation purposes should a passenger or crew member report with symptoms.
• TT-Line can use communications on board vessels to increase passenger awareness of how to adopt risk reducing behaviours while in public areas of the ship. The digital boards on the vessel provide COVID-19 information. Announcements are made on board regarding COVID 19.
• Hand sanitation stations are situated in key areas on all main decks of the vessel.
• After each journey the ship is cleaned. This includes cleaning and disinfecting services in cabins and common areas.
• There is no recirculation of air on the vessels. All accommodation spaces on the vessel are supplied with conditioned air in a total loss system, where fresh outside air is drawn into the system and cooled, and/or heated as required. An exhaust air fan then removes air from the space, and expels it into the atmosphere.
• If required, TT-Line is in a position to restrict total passenger numbers on individual sailings.
(3) TT-Line is providing information to staff from a number of sources, including the Tasmanian Department of Health. Simple things you can do to protect yourself from novel coronavirus include the following reading: Johari Consulting, Looking Out for your Mental Health During the Coronavirus Outbreak; Newport and Wildman, consultants, Support for your People Through the International Coronavirus COVID-19 Outbreak; and TT-Lines' information, 'What to do if a suspected case of COVID-19 presents on board or at a terminal after travelling on board'. Customers booking online are provided with information in relation to COVID-19 on the company's website before the booking process. Customers calling the customer contact centre via phone are advised by a pre-recorded voice message. That message reads -
Thank you for calling the Spirit of Tasmania. Spirit of Tasmania will continue to operate its daily Bass Strait crossing as normal. Passengers must comply with Australian Government guidelines relating to novel coronavirus before booking and travelling with us. For more information please visit the Home Affairs website.
I imagine that will change. Customers who have booked with the company will receive more information sheets on COVID-19 with their e-tickets. I can imagine some of those will have changed by now.