Once again I’m joined by Dr Mark Veitch and Kathryn Morgan-Wicks. Kathryn will provide a vaccination update and then take questions and Dr Veitch is obviously here to discuss broader matters in terms of COVID and take questions then obviously I’ll take questions at the end
Victoria has reported another four cases of COVID-19, taking the total number of cases associated with the current outbreak to 65, and I know I speak on behalf of all Tasmanians when I say that our thoughts are with Victoria, obviously they are going through a very tough period at the moment.
Tasmanian health authorities will continue to monitor the situation daily, and the advice is that the current travel restrictions that we have in place with Victoria should remain in place and for all of Victoria at this stage.
This is due to the fact that whilst there are only a small number of cases being recorded daily, there remain hundreds of exposure sites, I think more than 300 still, including some in regional Victoria.
This means that Victoria remains a high-risk area, and you cannot travel to Tasmania if you’ve been in Victoria in the previous 14 days, unless you are approved as an essential traveller.
Tasmanian residents can apply for essential traveller status to return home, but if approve they are being required to quarantine at a suitable premise and are require to be tested before Day 3 and on or after Day 12 while in quarantine.
My strong advice for all Tasmanians is that if you have any symptoms, any symptoms at all, even mild, isolate immediately and book a test with the Public Health hotline by calling 1800 671 738, keep checking the list of high-risk premises on the coronavirus website.
Today, National Cabinet met to discuss the vaccination rollout, especially in regards to the nation’s aged care facilities.
There was a discussion regarding mandating vaccinations for all aged care workers, and this is being referred to AHPPC for further advice.
I support the AHPPC being requested to provide further advice.
Subject to that advice I expect that we will introduce mandatory vaccination for aged care workers, once a national timeline has been established but, again, subject to that AHPPC advice.
And, obviously, if it becomes mandatory, that will be subject to any of the normal medical exemptions that would apply, and the aged care sector is obviously well versed with vaccinations in terms of the flu vaccinations already, in terms of its workforce.
Now, here in Tasmania we stepped in to help vaccinate our aged care residents and staff.
There is still more work to do.
Once again I want to encourage all aged care workers to get the vaccination, protect yourself, protect those that you’re caring for, protect your workplace, importantly, help protect our community.
National Cabinet also discussed the disaster payment arrangements put in place to assist Victoria businesses impacted by the snap lockdown that’s occurring at the moment.
I can confirm that the state has agreed to a program that would see the Commonwealth responsible for income support at an individual level, and the State Government will be responsible for business support.
This is largely in line with the way that we managed in terms of the first lockdowns that we saw early last year, whereas the Commonwealth managed income support, and we provided business support packages.
These disaster arrangements and payment arrangements would only obviously apply in Tasmania if we were to have another lockdown, and once again I would encourage Tasmanians to continue to do the right thing, make sure that you wash your hands, make sure that you appropriately socially distance, follow the rules and if unwell, even if mildly, well, please get a test.
As I’ve said on many occasions, high rates of testing and vaccination remains the best way for us to return to a more normal way of living.
It’s very pleasing at the moment that over the last week we’ve averaged somewhere between 650 and 750 test a day, peaking at over 1,000 on some days and, importantly, we’re boosting Tasmania’s testing capacity with a new testing facility at Macquarie Point at Hobart.
The facility will open from 8:30am to 3:30 pm daily with capacity for up to six lanes of drive-through testing and walk-in testing, if demand requires it, and this will help keep our testing rates high and meet demand during the colder months and in response to potential snap lockdowns, as we have seen in terms of Victoria which has obviously increased Tasmanians’ desire to be tested.
In terms of our vaccination rollout, we’re no almost at the end of Week 15 of the program.
Around 120,000 Tasmanians, or more than 27% of Tasmanians 16 years and over, have received their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.
I understand we’ve had very strong interest in vaccination this week in our community clinics, as I’ve said, largely as a result of people being very cognisant of what’s occurring in Victoria and the need to ensure that they take what steps they can to protect themselves and their community.
Today, National Cabinet also decided to revise the future phase of the vaccine rollout to open up access to other cohorts, which will include people aged 40 to 49 years of age, all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 16 years and over, NDIS participants aged 16 years and over and carers aged 16 years and over, and temporary visa holders under 50 who are in Australia and are approved for return travel to Australia through the travel exemption process, but that will be a matter for the Commonwealth Government to advise us in terms of their eligibility.
There is no change to the recommended vaccines, with AstraZeneca recommended for 50 years and over, and Pfizer recommended for the 16 to 49 year age group.
It is important that bookings be made, and to help us as we manage through the expected additional demand, I’d encourage people to book and make certain that they are in the queue.
It helps us to run our vaccination centres effectively and efficiently and, importantly, we can announce that we will be having a new community clinic opening in Moonah from next week as well, and this clinic will offer the Pfizer vaccine and have extended opening hours, including weekends.
Other clinics coming on line include a Pfizer clinic in Burnie, which is open now, and an AstraZeneca clinic in Scottsdale, which will open in late June, and Kath can provide more details on those.
In addition to our existing community clinics, we have over 93 GPs involved in the Tasmanian rollout, and I understand that we’ve had applications from, I think it was more than a dozen more that are looking to come on line as well and be part of the program, so please book an appointment and ensure that you get your vaccination when you can.
As we had into the season with colds and flus again, and I just want to make this point, please stay home if you are unwell, and if you have symptoms, even mild, please don’t hesitate to get tested.
I want to touch on a matter, I know one of my Ministers spoke about it briefly this morning, that was in terms of the temporary closure of the Tasman Highway.
I understand it’s a real inconvenience, however, people’s lives and safety must come first.
I’ve heard firsthand and through my Minister the impact this is having on businesses in the region, and I’m committed, as we have said, where Government needs to do more, we will do more to minimise the effect of business closures and the impact on individuals.
These conversations, and I know that I had Ministers on the Coast earlier this week who have helped inform our understanding of the situation, I can once again confirm today that we are working to develop a package of support for businesses directly affected.
Our focus is on helping them to get through the period, and the package of support will reflect that.
If businesses have been affected and they haven’t already registered, I urge them to contact Business Tasmania to register their details.
The number is 1800 440 026, 1800 440 026, or you can go online and ask at business.tas.gov.au and register your interest, and further details on the specifics of the business support package will be provided later next week.
I want to just be in touch on AFL as well, in terms of the AFL match to be played at Blundstone Arena on Sunday 13 June, noting that at this stage, all things being equal, we would expect that Victoria should come out of its lockdown before that date, but yesterday, as was announced by the Deputy State Controller, he’s begun planning to facilitate the match between North Melbourne and Greater Western Sydney on 13 June.
These arrangement are being informed by Public Health and involve players and necessary support staff flying in and out of Hobart on that day on dedicated charter flights under strict COVID protocols,.
While the plans are dependent on how the COVID-19 situation develops in Victoria over the coming days, and I want to be clear, you know, at this stage we are hopeful that Victoria will improve, certainly it appears to be stabilising its position but, again, we will rely on Public Health advice if that situation becomes more difficult in Victoria.
Again, Public Health advice will inform the final decision on whether that match can occur.
The arrangements follow the normal process in place for exemptions requested from the Deputy State Controller who acts with the advice of Public Health.
We’re also open to the possibility of, as I expressed to Gil McLachlan, of hosting more AFL games in Tasmania, or an AFL hub if the situation demands, and that would, when I say demands, if the situation in Victoria was to be extended or if it obviously were to worsen.
And I’ve let the AFL know last week, and Gil and I will be in touch, I expect, later today again on this matter, as we work through this.
However, to be clear, we won’t do anything to put Tasmanians at risk, and we will act only on Public Health advice at all times.
If I could hand over to Kathryn Morgan-Wicks, and she’ll provide you with a more detailed update on the vaccination effort.
But, once again, I just remind Tasmanians, as we’re heading into winter, maintain good hand hygiene, make sure that you’re covering your coughs and sneezes. Importantly, if you feel unwell, even mildly, please get a test.
Thank you, Premier.
As the Premier has said, we're nearly at the end of week 15 of the rollout in Tasmania and we've seen a large surge in bookings over the last seven days, with thousands of appointments being made and our clinics nearly booking out as quickly as we're opening them. Tasmanians have clearly responded and heard the call: don't wait, vaccinate.
With over 45,000 doses being delivered in arms over the last 16 days, as at 2 June we have delivered 14,682 doses which is made up of over 71,622 doses in State Government clinics, 10,584 in the aged care sector, and 62,476 doses by GPs.
Over 23,000 Tasmanians are fully vaccinated, and this will grow in coming weeks as the first 12-week cycle of AstraZeneca doses comes around; with more than 100,000 Tasmanians to receive their second dose in the 12 weeks from 14 June.
Pleasingly, the highest vaccination rate is amongst our older population, so around 57 per cent of Tasmanians aged 70 years and over have already received their first dose. Our community clinics continue to open across the state, and we are offering two different types of community clinic: an over 50s clinic and a 16 to 49 years clinic.
We are in Smithton this weekend to offer vaccination to all people aged 16 to 49 years old. There is no other eligibility except for age for this clinic, as it is a more remote and regional area. As the Premier said, we have added thousands of extra appointments to our clinics in Devonport, Rosny and into our hospital hubs.
Our new clinic in Moonah will open next week and bookings have already opened. This is also a clinic for eligible 16 to 49-year-olds, so it is open for anyone aged 40 to 49 or for anyone 16 to 39 that is in an eligible group, so an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander, any NDIS participant or person with a disability and their carers, any 16 to 39-year-olds with an underlying medical condition.
Our Pfizer clinic in Burnie is for 16 to 49-year-olds and it commences on 20 June, and people can book now for this clinic if you are eligible. A Scottsdale clinic will be available, as the Premier mentioned, from late June, and we will be opening up bookings and have more information on that in coming days.
We are returning to both Flinders Island from 7 June and King Island from 14 June for additional clinics. These island clinics will be open to all people on the islands from 16 to 49, with the GPs on the islands providing clinics for the 50-plus islanders.
Our community clinics will continue to move around the state to reach as many people as possible. As one clinic closes after delivering the first dose, the clinic will move to another location and its community, and will then come back to that first location to deliver the second dose. Remembering that that's three weeks for Pfizer and 12 weeks for AstraZeneca. Now these clinics are in place for a limited amount of time, so I do encourage everyone if you are in the area to make a booking and avoid missing out.
So, to summarise, we are currently operating community clinics for over 50s at Kingston, Huonville, Brighton, Triabunna, Rosny and Devonport. We're also running clinics for eligible 16 to 39-year-olds and anyone over 40 to 49 years old at Royal Hobart Hospital, Hobart Wellington Clinic, Moonah, Launceston General Hospital, Burnie, Flinders and Cape Barren islands, King Island and Smithton.
As the Premier has said, our focus is still on making sure that our frontline workers get vaccinated. The risk of an outbreak in Tasmania remains real, and so if you are waiting for any reason, now is the time to come forward if you have not had your vaccination.
In particular, I call upon our aged care and disability care workers to come forward so that we can prioritise your vaccination. We are working closely with the aged care and disability care facilities, and working through lists of names of staff members to make sure that you have had your vaccine or that you've been offered a spot to book in. And it's critical, particularly for our aged care workforce, together with our quarantine and our healthcare workforce, to get vaccinated given the at-risk populations that they work with.
So remember, from 8 June, anyone 40 years and over is eligible to receive a free vaccine and they can access this in three ways: through your GP that's participating, a GP respiratory clinic or through one of our state community clinics, and you can do this by ringing the Public Health Hotline on 1800 671 738 or online at www.coronavirus.taa.gov.au
This vaccination program is a whole-of-community effort, and I want to acknowledge the work that primary care providers are doing. There are 93 Tasmanian GP participants in the rollout, and we are working with the Commonwealth to try to add 16 additional GPs to this 93. And we also have three GP respiratory clinics at Derwent Park, Launceston and St Helens, and they all have large volumes of vaccine and bookings available.
As the Premier said, vaccination is the most important thing that you can do right now to protect yourself, your family and your community from COVID 19. So please don't wait, vaccinate, and encourage your family and your friends to get protected.
So, open up for questions.
The 40 to 49 cohort from June 8 will be, will that be the most significant cohort and the most significant number in the vaccination program so far, or have you had other stages that have been larger?
So, having a look at, for example, our immunisation data, there's some 70-odd thousands that we expect to be in this 40 to 49 cohort, noting that that is previous vaccination data and it is probably quite similar to our 50-pluses, so you know they're all ranging between the 70s or the 60,000s really around that age group, so we're probably adding remembering probably the surge in bookings we had when we opened up to over 50s. Probably a similar surge that's about to come from the 40 to 49s.
And just on aged care, how many aged care workers in Tasmania have received the vaccination so far?
So, we are attempting to estimate that, and at the moment we are actually working through actual staff lists from each of the aged care workers. Our best estimate at the moment is some 70 per cent, but we really do need to work through and tick off. And remembering that this is quite a flexible and mobile workforce as well, so people are coming in and out of aged care and we need to make sure that we're getting everyone, particularly as they are entering aged care and working for the first time.
What about the disability sector? Are you aware of what the numbers are for it? Again, acknowledging that there's some crossover between those at working aged care and disability, but do you know roughly what the numbers are for disability?
So, we're working together with the Commonwealth to try and receive lists of NDIS participants, for example, and also the workers that are working with them. At the moment, in Tasmania we've actually proactively gone out to particular carers and disability groups to try and achieve those lists and we're outbound calling them, but I don't have a number exactly.
Do you know what the numbers are for clients and people with disability? Not the workers, but the people that might be clients of those services?
So again, we rely on both NDIS data and trying to receive that, and I think that there are some privacy restrictions in the Commonwealth that we're trying to work through at the moment with them. And so we're certainly asking for the data, but we've proactively gone out to known disability care homes or residential homes and that we're asking for those lists of people that are residing there and also the workers that are working there, and we're forming our own list and now plan on calling them to try and book them in for a vaccination.
You've got 57 per cent of people over 70 who have already been vaccinated, what are your projections around what that grows to in coming weeks?
Well, I definitely like to see it, and I know Dr Veitch that's standing right next to me would like to see it much, much higher, so 57 is very good when we, particularly when we look at some of the other rates in other states and territories. But you know, we really do need to be seeing it over 80 in particular, and I’d love to see everyone in Tasmania vaccinated.
What's keeping it that low? Is it that supply or vaccine hesitancy?
We've seen, actually – particularly over the last week with the Victorian situation – a huge surge in terms of the bookings that have actually been made for vaccine. We do have to make sure that our bookings, however, match the volume of vaccine that's coming into the state, and we're very keen to see what the volumes are going to be after week 20, for example, to the state, knowing that there will be about 70,000 people sitting in that 40-49 bracket.
Does that mean you've already got 70,000 vaccines on the way?
No, so we have our guaranteed vaccine volumes up to week 20 and we're working closely with the Commonwealth to receive confirmation of the volumes of vaccine that we'll receive. We're working on an assumption that we'll receive at least what we are getting now per week, and hopefully as production for example, increases for AstraZeneca, that will also get increased volumes into the state.
Are you happy to take questions?
Sure. Look, I was going to say a little bit about Victoria in the first instance. I think Victoria is of great interest, as the Premier noted that we have close links with Victoria and our thoughts are with them going through their, I think, fourth significant lockdown. So, Victoria's, up until yesterday, we thought was dealing with one series of related outbreaks: an outbreak in the city of Whittlesea, an outbreak in Port Melbourne and several cases in aged care facilities, and they were all linked, they all had the same genetic strain, and the links between the cases between those sites were mostly understood.
Yesterday, we heard of a family of four people in inner Melbourne, and today we heard of another family of three people, so we needed to understand whether or not this was related to the earlier outbreak. And you may have heard on the, through the Victorian press conference that it isn't, this is a separate outbreak due to a strain known as Delta. This is a very common strain worldwide – it's the strain that's predominating in India at the moment, and it does have increased transmissibility. It spreads somewhat more easily than the common or garden strains.
Australia has seen cases of Delta in people who've come to Australia from India in the last few months, but they haven't seen this particular genetic fingerprint. So, it's a very specific genetic fingerprint of the Delta strain, and at the moment it's not clear how those people got infected, so it's a very significant task for Victoria and also New South Wales to be looking for any further cases and links that explain these cases, and to make sure that there isn't a wider risk from this outbreak either from the people we know about or the people we don't know about who are part of this outbreak.
I think that shows that, while as the Premier noted, Victoria has made remarkable advances in containing the principal outbreak over the last fortnight, new cases can crop up, a new outbreak can occur. So, I think what people will be familiar with is that we've managed the Victorian outbreak so far in Tasmania, or manage the risk to Tasmania much as we've managed previous outbreaks.
We've regularly listed all the exposure sites and drawn them to the attention of people who are in Tasmania or who are coming to Tasmania, and we've also designated the whole of Victoria as of last week as a high-risk site, which restricts the entry of people from Victoria into Tasmania unless they're approved by the Deputy State Controller as an Essential Worker or a Tasmanian resident –and those measures we had in place to reduce the risk of an importation of the case in Tasmania.
The cases in both outbreaks have given rise to exposure sites in both regional Victoria and metropolitan Victoria – principally metropolitan Victoria – but because of the uncertainty, particularly around the new four cases yesterday, I provided advice to the Deputy State Controller that for the time being we will retain the current, I recommend that we retain the current approach of designating the whole of Victoria as a high-risk site. We obviously review that every day.
There's an Australian health protection principle committee meeting daily at the moment; there’s one starting in about 10 minutes. That's when we understand that the latest on the Victorian situation, and often some you know in considerable detail, and that enables us to assess whether or not we need to adjust our jurisdictional measures. And around the country, most jurisdictions have retained the same sort of measures that they've had in place for the last week, and are looking to retain them into next week.
But of course, we'll be looking into whether or not the control of the Victorian situation is sufficient. If the risk is low enough for Tasmania, then sometime next week we may be in a position to reduce or remove the restrictions on somewhere or all of Victoria.
I know it's early days, but in terms of the football next weekend, is there any guidance around whether patrons would be allowed to watch that game?
The game at Blundstone?
Sure, they will be able to attend the game. There's no reason why they can't. The North Melbourne Football Club will be adhering to the requirements of the AFL for operating in a setting where there's Coronavirus around, and they've also got some additional measures that are required of them when the risk goes up.
And we will be discussing with the Deputy State Controller any other particular conditions that may be necessary just to further mitigate the risk, but in short the plan is to enable the football club to fly in, really not interact with anyone other than their own players and staff, and obviously the opposition team, and then to leave not too long after the game. So, it's a situation that doesn't pose a risk to the wider community and it doesn't pose a risk to the crowd.
The South Australian health authorities advised crowds in Adelaide on the weekend to duck and avoid the ball – would you have similar advice to people in Tasmania?
You know, I spent a fair bit of my childhood around country football ovals seeing footballs go into the cars parked around the ovals, and you can get a fair sort of whack from a wet football, so I’d recommend people avoid it because of that reason alone.
Just on testing and the Premier canvassing these numbers, but just to hear it from you, the situation in Victoria, has that caused a spike in testing numbers here in Tassie?
It's probably done so for two reasons. Firstly, there are people who've come from Victoria into Tasmania as Tasmanian residents who are being tested as part of their quarantine requirements. But I’m sure that whenever you have an outbreak in a place that you relate to, that prompts you to go and get your sniffle tested, and so we've been averaging 650 to 700 tests a day, sometimes up to 1000, sometimes a bit less. But that's, it's pleasing to see those numbers.
The other thing to say, of course, is that we're also doing the wastewater testing, which has come up negative so far.
And the new testing clinic that's opened at Macquarie Point, is that, I guess, in preparation for a spike that you might see in winter numbers, with people having cold or flu symptoms who will then get tested?
There are a number of reasons why that was moved, and part of it was that it's a better site to run a testing clinic than Melville Street. I think we're retaining the Melville Street clinic for surge, so it just increases our capacity and generally makes the process a bit more a bit easier and a bit more flexible.
So that'll take most of the responsibility off the Melville site, they're not going to operate at the same time? Macquarie Point will be the primary one now?
I think that's just for a short period, they will be both operating until we iron out everything at Macquarie.
Premier, is there an updated timeline on the Tasman Highway closure, now that the rocks have come down?
Look, I’d expect that we would be in a better position early next week to outline the time frame there, but it's pleasing that yesterday went as planned. But I’d expected early next week we'd have an opportunity to sit at a clearer timeline.
Should the government have already had some idea how it was going to support these affected businesses. Should you have already had a support plan or a support package now? I mean, you know, Michael Ferguson says that help is on the way. We thought, we sort of expected today to have some detail in that. You know, it wouldn't have taken a rocket scientist to work out that there was going to be a negative impact on some of these businesses. How come we don't have that detail yet?
Well, in terms of what's occurred, like let's be clear, that area of the state hasn't been completely isolated. Now, people can still get there through Wielangta Road, if they drive according to the conditions, it takes a little longer, or they can take the longer route via the Midlands.
So, the area hasn't been completely isolated, and secondly, as we've seen with the impact of COVID at different times, you know Australia's economy is actually running stronger cut off from the rest of the world. Tasmania has a very strong economy; we've spent in large part large portions of time cut off from the rest of Australia, and so there will be people that will make choices in those communities.
They may not drive to Hobart to spend in Hobart shops, and might spend more locally. So if these matters needed to be understood, obviously some businesses have been affected and have reached out, and we will tailor a package accordingly.
We spoke to a business yesterday, though, who said that if the current conditions last for another week, that's essentially going to equate to a staff member's salary. Do you concede that some businesses have been negatively impacted by this though?
Well, I’ve just made the point and we're working out a package. We've had businesses reach out and we will put in place a package to support them.
Do you think there's a case now to have Wielangta Road permanently upgraded or possibly sealed?
Look, in terms of that route, obviously we announced at the election some funding to begin the progressive sealing of it. I don't have any advice now as to whether or not that should be accelerated, but in terms of the works that are planned, there are, there is money available for progressive sealing. And whether or not we accelerate it or not, we'll take feedback from State Growth, who will largely respond to the community's feedback.
You urged businesses this week to get better at contact tracing. Has there been an uptick in businesses registering since Monday?
Look, I’m not aware of the numbers as of today, but I do know – in fact, I’ve spoken to a couple of businesses this week that have welcomed the reminder, and that I know have taken steps in that in their own circumstance. So, I think the yeah, in the main, businesses have done a pretty good job, and in fact those that aren't using the check-in app are largely using some form of either another system or have been utilising a paper base. But we want them all on the same system, it just simply makes sense that if we do need to track and trace that Public Health can access the information quickly.
Look, we'll continue to remind businesses, State Growth are reaching out to those businesses that are on their database that they understand that haven't signed up, and I’d expect they would see a very high level of compliance.
Senator Claire Chandler says allowing trans women to compete in women's sports would be a huge step backwards. Have you seen her petition, and will you sign it?
I haven't seen her petition, nor am I aware of her comments.
Do you support trans women competing in women's sports in Tasmania?
Look, to be honest, it's never been raised as an issue with me. It's not a matter that I’ve turned my mind to. I don't have any major concerns.
How soon after the Victoria coming out of lockdown can we expect the borders to open?
Oh, look, that's a question for Public Health, but if I could – and Dr Veitch, jump in if i I take too much license – generally speaking, we've always stepped out relatively cautiously, but again it depends on what the circumstances are.
In the Victorian situation, if COVID were to sputter out to nothing by Monday of next week but they were to keep their lockdown in place until Thursday at midnight, then obviously we might come, we might remove our restrictions very early after they come out.
If it continues to sputter along but they come out, it might be, you know, a longer period that we take and I think, in fact, when I look back and think of Queensland, I think it might have been a 48-hour, or two or three-day period and that we would extend ours for. But again, it depends on the severity of the COVID outbreak in the particular location and Public Health’s view based on their interactions with the Public Health officials in those states.
What's your understanding of the impact that it's had on the local tourism market with having that border close to Victoria? Is it taking much of a chunk out of business?
Look, I haven't had a great deal of feedback from business in terms of the impact. What we're seeing still are people coming into the state obviously from every other jurisdiction other than Victoria, but there will be businesses that have been impacted. But one thing again I’d encourage Tasmanians to do is to spend locally and to stay locally, and you know they've been very good at doing that as we work, as has been evidenced in terms of the numbers that we're seeing.
Dark Mofo begins next weekend. Obviously, travellers are looking for some sort of guidance around Public Health advice and whether they'll be allowed in the state. When do you expect they might be able to know whether they can come for that or not?
Well, again, Dr Veitch will provide advice on that as we move daily through this next week. But again, it'll largely depend on what occurs in Victoria, and as he's explained today, you know there are some matters that Victoria are working through at the moment.
This afternoon, he'll get a further update in terms of particular strains that are evident in Victoria. But I was pleased to see yesterday, I understand I certainly heard a news report that in terms of the tickets that had been put on sale, that they had sold out, I thought, and that they were actively considering putting on additional shows, and so the appetite is certainly there for Dark Mofo.
Just for going back to the AFL again, I mean you obviously can’t say this early, but what would you specifically be chatting about with Gil McLachlan this afternoon?
Well, obviously there are two scenarios that need to be looked at. One is that if Victoria comes out of this next week as they are planning to, then I would largely expect that AFL and Victoria would go back to normal.
If restrictions remain in place for longer, then obviously I’d expect that there would be an opportunity for Tasmania to consider, you know, perhaps put on additional games. I made that point to him last week.
Obviously, at the moment it's a day-by-day proposition in terms of Victoria, but a longer shutdown should the virus become more problematic in Victoria, then there may be an opportunity for Tasmania.
If Tasmania does step in to help the league, does this help our case in the long term to secure a team?
Look, I’ve never been swayed by the, in terms of our business case, you know the assistance that we provide the AFL through COVID, our focus – and I’ll make this perfectly clear – has been the health and safety of Tasmanians. And so, regardless of whether supporting the league or not would assist our business case, our focus will firmly be based on the health and safety of Tasmanians. That'll be what will inform our decision.