8 May 2020 I Prime Minister Scott Morrison has unveiled a three-stage roadmap through which the government is hoping to lead Australia back to the “new normal”.
The plan he announced today during his press conference was earlier endorsed by the national cabinet.
How the state premiers will react and act on the federal roadmap is yet to be seen but Mr Morrison has made one thing very clear – he is not prepared to go “backwards” despite the uncertainties of these challenging times.
As details of the government document embedded below shows, “social distancing” shall still remain a permanent motif throughout all three steps of the process.
Below is the full transcript of prime minister Scott Morrison’s statement on the “Roadmap to a COVIDsafe Australia”
Always being thankful is a common lesson our mothers advise us, and I have always found that particularly good advice from my mum, especially if you’re going through difficult times. It turns your focus on others, who are not so advantaged as yourself. We’ve been doing a lot of that lately, I’m sure. So many Australians are hurting right now. Lives turned upside down, painful separation from their loved ones. Livelihoods that they have spent a lifetime building stripped away. Uncertainty about their futures and their family’s future. The last few months have given us a reminder of the things that are really important. Our health, our wellbeing, a strong health system and all th
ose who keep it strong. A growing economy. Our jobs and our incomes that rely on it. We cannot take this for granted. Every job matters, whatever job you do. Every job is essential.
Our children’s education. Caring for our elderly, respecting their dignity. The selfless and humble service of so many Australians who just get on with it every day make this great country work. We have seen these heroes in action. Above all though, the importance of each other. That every Australian matters. Every life, every job, every future. And we have learnt some important lessons that we can meet the tests, as we have, and the challenges that we have so far confronted. That when we have to, we can and we do pull together. That we can focus on something bigger than just ourselves. Be encouraged, Australia, that we are successfully making our way through this difficult battle on two fronts. And we’re certainly doing it better than many and most around the world today.
Firstly, we’ve been fighting the virus and we are winning. Secondly, we have put in place and are delivering the economic lifeline through JobKeeper and JobSeeker and many other programs to get us through the worst of this, to buy Australians time as we fight the virus and we chart our way back. Thirdly, and particularly today, we move ahead with reopening our economy and our society, with a clear plan, and a clear framework, that shows Australians the road ahead. The next step beyond this will be to build the confidence and momentum that will see our economy get back up and running and get Australians back up on their feet and moving ahead with confidence. And then we can reset our economy for growth in the years ahead in this new environment. So we can deliver the jobs, guarantee the essential services that Australians rely on, keep Australians safe, and take care of this amazing country that we have the great responsibility of looking after. This is the plan we are working through to get through this together, as we promised.
So today our focus is on the road back. Today, we have put Australia in a position to go forward. We have strengthened our health system and put the protections in place. On the front-line, our testing and our tracing capabilities, containing outbreaks, all backed up by a health system with more ICU beds and ventilators, more personal protective equipment, doctors, nurses, first responders, ready to go. JobSeeker and JobKeeper in place. So with that work being done, today National Cabinet agreed on a three step plan and a national framework to achieve a COVID safe economy and society and it is our goal to move through all of these steps to achieve that COVID safe economy in July of this year. In this plan, we walk before we run. We know we need to be careful to preserve our gains, but we also know that if we wish to reclaim the ground we have lost, we cannot be too timid. There will be risks, there will be challenges, there will be outbreaks, there will be more cases, there will be setbacks. Not everything will go to plan. There will be inconsistencies. States will and must move at their own pace, and will cut and paste out of this plan to suit their local circumstances. There will undoubtedly be some human error. No-one is perfect. Everyone is doing their best. To think or expect otherwise, I think, would be very unrealistic. This is a complex and very uncertain environment. But we cannot allow our fear of going backwards from stopping us from going forwards.
The Chief Medical Officer, Professor Murphy, will go into the plan in more detail. But this is the plan for a COVID safe Australia. Three steps, moved at at the pace of states and territories that will get us back where we need to be as quickly as we can. A plan that, according to Treasury, can see some 850,000 jobs restored in the months ahead.
Step one will enable greater connection with friends and family, allowing gatherings up to 10 people, and five guests in your own home. Working from home, if it works for you, and your employer. That’s a difference in emphasis, as I’m sure you’ve picked up. It will see children back in classrooms and in playgrounds in their communities. Golfers back on the green. Lap swimmers back in the pool. Boot camps back in the parks. Retail and small cafes and restaurants reopening. Intrastate recreational travel starting again. It will see easing of restrictions for funerals with up to 30 attendees, outdoors, and 10 at weddings.
Step two will allow larger size gatherings up to 20 people, including for venues such as cinemas and galleries, more retail openings on sector-based COVID safe plans, organised community sport, and beauty parlours, and you’ll be pleased to know, barre classes open once again.
Step three, allowing gatherings up to 100 people. This will become clearer as we move through the first two steps. So there will be more work to do on step three. But most workers, by then, will be back in the workplace. Interstate travel will likely resume. Pubs and clubs, with some restrictions, will be open and also possibly gaming venues. As I said, step three, but also step two, will get greater definition as we move through the success of step one.
As I said, it’s our aspiration as agreed among premiers and chief ministers and myself that in July, we will have moved through these three steps across the country. The pace, though, will totally be up to the states and territories. They’ll be responsible for setting their own timetable and communicating that to their citizens and residents in their own states and territories. Premiers and chief ministers have asked me to stress there should be no expectation of step one starting on day one, unless they are indeed already there. Moving on these steps will take some preparation. It is also important to note that movement from one step to the next will depend on three criteria that we have always outlined, and indeed, has enabled us to move today, a week earlier than we had planned. Those criteria again – that the medical evidence suggests that further easing would not present an undue risk, that widespread testing is adequately identifying community transmission, and thirdly, public health actions are able to trace cases and trap local outbreaks. Testing, tracing, trapping, as they were saying in the Northern Territory recently. Downloading the COVIDSafe app, which is now over 5.3 million, is the best way to help us do this job, to keep you and your family safe. And I would say that especially now, because for some time now, Australians have been kept at home and they know who they’ve been seeing each and every day now for some time. But that’s going to change in the weeks ahead. You’ll be seeing more people, you’ll be connecting with more people. So the COVIDSafe app will be even more important to protect you and your family and your safety and for those in your community, those you work with, those you come in contact with. So I would encourage you to continue to download the COVIDSafe app. For industry and businesses, it’s all about getting your COVID safe plans in place for your workplaces and your premises, and Safe Work Australia has been doing some excellent work there and I referred to that earlier this week with Nev Power and the Minister for Industrial Relations, Christian Porter.
So, that’s the plan for taking us forward. We’ll be reviewing progress of our plan every three weeks and making any changes as we need to. I again want to thank all the premiers and chief ministers for the spirit in which they have engaged in this process over the last several months. I also want to thank our expert medical and economic advisors, and of course Professor Murphy, who is here with us today, as always, and to you Brendan and your team, thank you for the excellent work that you’ve all done. I also want to thank my own team from our own Government, the Deputy Prime Minister, Michael McCormack, the Treasurer, Josh Frydenberg, and the Minister for Health, of course, Greg Hunt, and all of my colleagues for getting us to where we are today. But we’ve still got a long way to go. We’ve got a plan to get there, done the work to get there, Australians have done the work to get where we are and I want to thank them most of all, for enabling us to get to this point.
A year ago, I made a promise to all Australians. That we would work each and every day to keep our economy strong, to keep Australians safe, and to keep Australians together. We’re keeping that promise to Australians. That’s the fight we’ve been in. That’s the fight we remain in. It’s the fight we’re winning. And it’s the fight we’ll continue to win together.