Darren Vaux
Boating Industry Association Ltd PO Box 1204
Dear Mr Vaux

Thank you for your correspondence of 22 April 2020 concerning COVID-19 and the boating industry. I appreciate your suggestion in regards to COVID-19 and the boating industry, and thank you for providing them.

The Australian Government is taking a strong and decisive approach in responding to COVID-19, based on the latest and best medical advice from the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee and the Communicable Diseases Network Australia.

Australia is very well prepared to respond to the virus and the course of the epidemic. We already have in place border controls, isolation social distancing and ‘stay at home’ requirements as well as surveillance and case tracing. Our health emergency response arrangements are flexible and scalable and are tailored to respond to the situation as we learn more about the virus and how it spreads. Australian Government agencies and state and territory governments are working together to coordinate an evidence-based response and keep Australians fully informed. Together these actions have placed us in a good position globally.

COVID 19 is having an enormous impact on the sports industry including professional and amateur sports, stadium and facility operators, equipment suppliers, private providers, gyms, events and of course, the volunteers, participants and high performance athletes and coaches at the heart of the system. We remain committed to retaining an open dialogue with the sport industry and will continue to consider the most appropriate arrangements to support the reactivation of Australian sport in the COVID-19 recovery phase.

As outlined in the Prime Minister, the Hon Scott Morrison MP’s media statement on 1 May 2020, the National Cabinet agreed that sport and recreation will play a significant role as Australia emerges from the COVID-19 environment due to the associated health, economic, social and cultural benefits it brings. National Cabinet also agreed that the resumption of sport and recreation activity must not compromise the health of individuals or the community; must be based on objective health information to ensure potential transmission rates are conducive to the safe conduct of sport and recreation; and should only occur where activity-specific, stringent, public and personal health measures are observed, and meeting minimum standards.

The National Cabinet has endorsed ‘National Principles for Sport and Recreational Activities’ developed by the AHPPC in consultation with sporting bodies across Australia. The Principles will help provide a pathway for a staged return of community and professional sport, as well as recreational activities, without compromising the health of individuals or the community. The Principles are available at: www.pm.gov.au/sites/default/files/files/attacha-national-principles-resumption-sport-recreation-activities.pdf.

The states and territory governments will be responsible for sport and recreation resumption decisions, both at the professional and community level and will determine progression through the phases, taking account of local epidemiology, risk mitigation strategies and public health capability.

As outlined in the Prime Minister’s media statement, the staged return of sport and recreation activities will commence with an initial phase of small group (<10) activities in a non-contact fashion, prior to moving on to a subsequent phase of large group (>10) activities including full contact training and competition in sport. The initial phase accommodates, where possible, for the resumption of children’s outdoor sport with strict physical distancing measures for non-sporting attendees such as parents, and outdoor recreational activities including but not limited to outdoor-based personal training and boot camps, golf, fishing, bush-walking, and swimming.

National Cabinet agreed that the ‘Framework for Rebooting Sport in a COVID-19 Environment’, developed by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIS) provides a guide to the stage resumption of sport and recreation in Australia. The framework is available at: www.pm.gov.au/sites/default/files/files/attachb-ais-framework-rebooting­sport.pdf.

The National Cabinet has also endorsed the establishment of a COVID-19 Sports and Health Committee (Committee) to closely monitor and report on any COVID-19 related issues or manifestations in the sector during the resumption phase, as well as any further and specific decisions about the resumption of sport – for a minimum of three months from commencement. The Committee will comprise the Commonwealth Deputy Chief Medical Officer, AIS Medical Director, an infection control expert, representatives of Commonwealth, state and territory departments of health, sport and recreation and relevant sports medical officers from the National Sporting Organisations,

Further information on the latest COVID-19 news, updates and advice from government agencies across Australia is available at: www.australia.gov.au. This site includes links to state and territory government websites.

Thank you for raising this matter.

Yours sincerely

Richard Colbeck

2020.05.20_letter-from-Senator-The-Hon-Richard-Colbeck-reCOVID-19.pdf – 144.13 KB