COVID-19 Statement by the Presiding Officers regarding on-going APH access

Joint statement from the Speaker of the House of Representatives, the Hon Tony Smith MP and the President of the Senate, Senator the Hon Scott Ryan

3 November 2020

Following consultations between the Presiding Officers, parliamentary departments and relevant health officials, new access arrangements to Australian Parliament House (APH) are now in place and will remain so for both sitting and non-sitting weeks until further notice. 

Access to Parliament House

APH will be open to the public in accordance with the ACT Government’s COVID restrictions. All APH visitors and building occupants must comply with the ACT Government’s COVID-19 Easing of Restrictions Roadmap.  APH will be open 7 days per week with the following arrangements.

Access to the public galleries of the Senate and House of Representatives, and to committee hearings, will be reinstated with limited numbers in a controlled and COVID Safe manner. 

All passholders are welcome to return to the building and access private areas.

However, the conditions in place earlier this year remain. There should be no gathering or waiting around in the public or private areas of the building, including in the café or dining spaces, and meetings with building occupants must have been arranged prior to coming to the building. 

Return of school visits 

We are pleased to welcome the return of primary and secondary school visits during sitting weeks. The APH School Visit Program includes a one-hour comprehensive guided tour of APH by Visitor Services staff and a one-hour interactive education program conducted by the Parliamentary Education Office. 

Events

The internal event spaces in APH will re-open under strict COVID arrangements.  Guidelines on the requirements should be obtained from aphevents@aph.gov.au

Guided tours for the public

The public can only access the building by booking a guided tour.  These must be booked in advance at www.aph.gov.au/tours and will run regularly for a 30 – 60 minute duration with up to 20 people. 

No more than 200 people will be permitted in the public areas of APH at any one time. 

COVID Safe measures

COVID Safe measures will be in place to support the staged reopening of APH and ensure the health and safety of visitors and those working within APH. These measures include:

  • COVID Safe information, including reminding people who are unwell not to visit APH, will be provided upon booking and arrival;
  • collection of contact details upon booking should contact tracing be necessary;
  • single-flow movement of people and physical distancing monitored by tour guides;
  • additional cleaning of high-touch points in public areas; and,
  • cashless purchases at all outlets.

Masks 

While the wearing of face masks is not mandatory in the ACT, it is strongly recommended in those areas of the building where people circulate and where physical distancing is not possible, particularly by those at increased risk of COVID-19. Face mask kits will be available at building entrances and the level 1 cloak room.

Conduct of parliamentarians and essential staff travelling from interstate

At all times Senators, Members and staff should follow the advice of health authorities regarding the need to seek medical advice and treatment. Up-to-date official information is available at ACT Health

Please do not travel to Canberra if you are unwell. 

All travellers should check the ACT Health website regarding restrictions on those who have visited designated areas. ACT travel advice can be found here. Compliance with these requirements is compulsory and all travellers should check for up-to-date information regularly.

As advice evolves to meet new circumstances it is the responsibility of all travellers to regularly check this information and ensure compliance. 

For those parliamentarians from areas free of community transmission or who have undertaken quarantine arrangements, strict compliance with ACT orders and physical distancing should be followed. All persons visiting the ACT should make themselves familiar with the latest health advice applying in the ACT jurisdiction at ACT Health FAQs restrictions.