Social Distancing or Distant Socialising?

The National Cabinet Statement (Statement) was released on 29 March 2020 in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic.  

The Statement, amongst other things: 

  1. Limits indoor and outdoor gatherings to 2 people, with exceptions for funerals, weddings and family units/households; and 
  2. Advises Australians to stay home unless they’re getting food, essential supplies or accessing essential services; attending to medical or compassionate care needs; exercising or its required for work / study.  

The States and Territories were then asked to go away and determine how they would each legislate and enforce, as well as explain, the restrictions contained in the Statement to their residents. 

Quicker than you could say ‘but can I still go away at Easter?’, State/Territory legislation was amended, new legislation was enacted and directives were issued to give effect to the Statement.   

When can I leave home? 

It is different in each State / Territory, but NSW has provided some guidance on what is considered a reasonable excuse for being outside your home in NSW. There’s 16 in total and they are:  

  1. Obtaining food or other goods or services for the personal needs of the household or other household purposes (including for pets) and for vulnerable persons; 
  2. Travelling for the purposes of work if the person cannot work from the person’s place of residence;
  3. Travelling for the purposes of attending childcare (including picking up or dropping another person at childcare);
  4. Travelling for the purposes of facilitating attendance at a school or other educational institution if the person attending the school or institution cannot learn from the person’s place of residence;
  5. Exercising;
  6. Obtaining medical care or supplies or health supplies or fulfilling carer’s responsibilities;
  7. Attending a wedding or a funeral(but note the limits on attendees);
  8. Moving to a new place of residence (including a business moving to new premises) or between different places of residence of the person or inspecting a potential new place of residence;
  9. Providing care or assistance (including personal care) to a vulnerable person or providing emergency assistance;
  10. Donating blood;
  11. Undertaking any legal obligations;
  12. Accessing public services (whether provided by Government, a private provider or a non-Government organisation), including social services, employment services, domestic violence services, mental health services, and services provided to victims (including as victims of crime);
  13. For children who do not live in the same household as their parents or siblings or one of their parents or siblings — continuing existing arrangements for access to, and contact between, parents and children or siblings;
  14. For a person who is a priest, minister of religion or member of a religious order going to the person’s place of worship or providing pastoral care to another person;
  15. Avoiding injury or illness or to escape a risk of harm; or
  16. For emergencies or compassionate reasons.

 Fines 

The following is not exhaustive (principally because it’s changing daily!) but here’s our take on the fines for not complying with the requirements in your State

 

State  Maximum Penalties for non-compliance 
NSW  • Individuals: $11,000 fine plus a further fine of $5,500 for each day it continues and up to six months’ jail time. 

• Body corporate: $55,000 fine plus a further fine of $27,500 for each day it continues  

Qld   Individuals: $13,345 
Vic  • Individuals: $19,826.40  

• Body corporate: $99,132  

SA  • Individuals: $20,000  

• Body corporate: $75,000  

WA  • Individuals: $20,000  

• Body corporate, $100,000  

NT  • Individuals: $62,800  
Tas  • Individuals: $16,800 or up to six months’ jail time 

Questions? Give us a call.

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