Legislative Council Thursday 19 March, 2020
Ms FORREST question to LEADER of the GOVERNMENT in the LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL, Mrs HISCUTT
I hope we get some information on the financial performance because we did not get that with TT-Line; it was all about the other risks.
With regard to the potential impact of COVID-19 on the operations and financial performance of TasPorts -
(1) What specific risks, including financial and operational, have been identified by TasPorts relating to COVID-19?
(2) What risk management controls were in place to address and/or mitigate each of these risks?
(3) What measures have been taken to educate and inform staff and customers of TasPorts to reduce risk?
Mr President, I thank the member for Murchison for her question. I ask her to please bear in mind that this answer was prepared - we took a lot of questions after question time yesterday.
Ms Forrest - This one was in last week.
Mrs HISCUTT - I want to emphasise that the answer was ready prior to today's announcement.
(1) TasPorts is currently undertaking a thorough risk analysis, both financial and operational, to understand the potential impacts of COVID-19 on industry sectors, including the flow-on effect on trade volumes. TasPorts' primary objective is to ensure that Tasmanian ports remain open and operational to facilitate critical trade activity, including the import of fuel and essential goods and services; export of commodities to national and international markets, including forest products and bulk minerals; and ensuring the health and safety of employees remains paramount along with ensuring highest standards of maritime safety in Tasmanian waters.
(2) Financially, TasPorts is undertaking significant steps to develop a resilient, robust business model. TasPorts' business model is not financially reliant on a single customer or industry sector, and has successfully navigated previous trade disruptions, including the global financial crisis. Operationally, TasPorts is continuing to work alongside government agencies, including the Department of Health and Australian border protection to facilitate the implementation of government measures in responding to COVID-19.
In addition, in consultation with government, TasPorts has also implemented the following measures: prior to coming into port, ships are required to provide information on crew and passenger health, including health monitoring along with standard biosecurity declaration information; and in addition, all ships departing Italy, Iran, South Korea and China must have passed a 14-day period before they may berth at a Tasmanian port -
Ms Forrest - You could add any other country in the world to that list.
Mrs HISCUTT - Well, that is possibly true, but this is correct as at when the answer was written. All personnel onboard vessels originating from Italy, Iran, South Korea or China, or any vessels where crews have come from or transited through Italy, Iran, South Korea and China will be required to remain on board the vessel when in port. If, for operational reasons, they must leave the vessel, they are required to wear protective clothing and limit contact with port staff.
TasPorts has also supplied stocks of masks, glasses, gloves, personal hand sanitiser and sanitising wet wipes to operational employees at each site around the state. On Sunday, 15 March 2020, the Tasmanian Government directed TasPorts to suspend all cruise ship visits to Tasmanian ports until 30 June 2020, at which time a review will be undertaken. When this direction was provided, there were 21 remaining scheduled cruise ships, including five to Hobart, five to Burnie and two to Port Arthur. We know now that that information has been updated.
Following the Government's direction, TasPorts has worked, and continues to work, closely with impacted cruise ship lines and industry stakeholders to facilitate and enable safe diversions of cruise ships to other ports. At this time, sea freight operations between Tasmania and mainland Australia continue as normal. TasPorts is working, and will continue to work, alongside government and key customers to facilitate trade for the benefit of Tasmania.
(3) TasPorts is proactively responding to the evolving COVID-19 issue and is providing regular updates, both internationally and externally, including regular updates to all employees, internal briefings for senior leaders, implementation of signage at sites to remind employees of simple workplace health and hygiene, regular updates on TasPorts external website, including an on-line form for any inquiries. TasPorts has been regularly meeting and communicating with Government agencies to ensure the most up-to-date information is available to its employees, customers and local communities.
In early March, TasPorts implemented a restriction of non-essential interstate and international business travel for an indefinite period of time for all employees. I think all members know some of those conditions have been updated.