Emergency orders and police powers during COVID-19

On the 17th March 2020 the Director of Public Health declared a Public Health Emergency Declaration for Tasmania to help manage the threat of the COVID-19 pandemic. Once this health emergency was made, a number of emergency orders were announced. On the 19th March, 2020 the Tasmanian Government also declared a state of emergency for Tasmania

What are the emergency orders?

The emergency orders include restrictions on activities  such as: travel to and within Tasmania, gatherings, attendance at school and work, the use  of public parks and recreation grounds and the movement of people for non-essential reasons. The restrictions also affect the operation of businesses. These restrictions are regularly reviewed.

Some restrictions in the North-West of Tasmania were different to other parts of the State due to the spread of COVID-19.

For updates on current emergency orders go to https://coronavirus.tas.gov.au/resources.

When does the emergency period end?

Once a state of emergency is declared, it is usually in place for seven days. However, the nature of the emergency related to COVID-19 means that the period of emergency is for 12 weeks.

This period can be extended or cancelled as required.

What are the penalties if I don’t follow the emergency orders?

If a person does not follow the emergency orders, they may be issued a summons to go to Court. If convicted for breaching emergency orders, they can be fined up to $16,800 or be sentenced to prison for up to six months, or both.

Can the Police arrest me?

If a police officer reasonably believes  that a person has refused to follow emergency orders or is about to not follow an emergency order, they may arrest that person.

Can the Police give me an infringement notice?

A police officer can give a person an infringement notice if they reasonably suspect that person has not followed the emergency orders. If you receive an infringement notice you will have 28 days to pay, unless you choose to contest the infringement notice in court. An infringement notice cannot be given to person under 18 years of age

What do I need to do if I receive an infringement notice?

A person who has received an infringement notice has 28 days to  do one of the following:

-       Pay the fine stated in the infringement notice;

-       Apply to the Monetary Penalties Enforcement Service (MPES) to enter into a payment plan;

-       Choose to have the matter heard in the Magistrates Court.

If a person receives an infringement notice and doesn’t do anything about it they will receive an enforcement order which will add $84 on top of their fine, and the offence will be included on their criminal record.

How can I contest an infringement notice?

If a person  wants to argue against having to pay an infringement notice, they  will be given  a date to appear in court so they can have their matter heard before a Magistrate. This option is only available if the infringement notice has not been paid or there has been no application to MPES to pay it by instalments.

Last updated: 12-May-2020