Published: 03 June 2020

Legislative Council Wednesday 3 June, 2020

Mrs HISCUTT - Mr President, the member for Murchison also asked about an independent investigation inquiry into the North West Regional Hospital COVID-19 outbreak. She asked about the terms of reference for the inquiry, when it would be, and whether State Service employees would be empowered to provide evidence without fear of retribution.

(1) Tasmania has a history of proactively commissioning external independent reviews, demonstrating the culture of seeking to learn from major events. The Department of Premier and Cabinet will provide a draft set of the terms of reference to the Premier for his consideration.

In drafting the terms of reference, consideration will be given to the scope of the inquiry and the process for submissions as well as the make-up of the independent review panel heading the inquiry.

(2) Developing a robust and well-specified terms of reference will support the independent review panel in undertaking a high-quality review and evaluation. The Premier has announced the inquiry will be appropriately resourced and will take place at an appropriate time. This means we have the time to get this right.

It is expected that a draft terms of reference will be provided to and settled by the Premier by the end of June 2020. This work is underway.

(3) The independent review panel will provide advice to the Premier on how evidence will be treated. Without pre-empting the advice of the independent review panel, it is anticipated that contributions and submissions made up by State Service employees will be welcomed and confidential. The purpose of the inquiry is to learn from the situation and to make recommendations for improvement.

(4) The Premier has publicly stated that he hopes we will be in a position well before the end of the COVID-19 pandemic to progress the inquiry, noting the immediate focus is on managing the state of emergency and keeping Tasmanians safe. That was dated 21 May 2020.

Mr President, by way of explanation, there was some comment about me tabling answers so I will now make every effort to read them into Hansard.


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