Joint statement by the Presiding Officers on building operations at the Australian Parliament House

Issue date: Thursday, 12 August 2021

The ACT Government has announced a strict seven-day lockdown, which commenced at 5pm today.

A number of cases of COVID-19 have been detected in the ACT.

We have been in contact with Commonwealth and ACT health officials to discuss the impact on Australian Parliament House and its occupants.

The building will be closed for the duration of the lockdown to all but staff necessary to maintain critical building functions. This includes parliamentarians and their essential staff being permitted to travel to Parliament House from their accommodation and back again to continue their work.

Parliamentarians who return to their home states must follow the requirements imposed by their home state. If they return to the ACT next week, they must comply with the ACT Health directions.

Building occupants who are considered essential to the running of the building and journalists are also permitted to attend APH during the lockdown. We would ask though that numbers are kept as low as possible.

Travelling to the ACT 

A list of designated postcodes in the surrounding region outside of the ACT has been issued by ACT Health so those staff considered essential who live in those areas may still travel to their work at Parliament House.

Information for those living outside the ACT in one of the approved postcodes can be found here.

For those staff who live do not live in either the ACT or within one of the designated postcodes, an exemption must be applied for through ACT Health Online travel forms - COVID-19 (act.gov.au).

More advice on entering the ACT is located here.

APH operations 

During the lockdown period, non-essential services in the building will be closed. There will be a restricted catering service for parliamentarians and essential staff who need to work in the building.

Face masks will be mandatory for anyone working in APH in common areas and people will be strongly discouraged from spending time in common areas.

Non-essential staff will be working from home if they are able.

Given the significant measures already taken to allow this current sitting to go ahead, many staff are already working from home in some capacity.

Staff should follow the advice of their department or employer.

ACT exposure sites

ACT Health has already released a list of exposure sites on the ACT Health website. Please check this regularly as they are likely to be updated. 

If you have been to any of these locations at the dates and times specified, you must:

  • Immediately quarantine
  • Get tested
  • Remain in quarantine until advised further by ACT Health, even if you get a negative test result.

Testing locations in the ACT can be found here.

Reporting processes 

It is important that suspected or confirmed cases of COVID-19 at APH are managed in a systematic and timely manner.

The notification process has been developed to assist you in reporting cases of COVID-19.

Step 1: Report to local health authorities 

If you or someone in your team has symptoms of COVID-19, or you have had close contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19, notify local health authorities immediately. For further information on COVID-19 please visit Health Direct or contact the Coronavirus Health Information Line 1800 020 080, which operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Step 2: Report to your local organisation / employer 

It is important you report through your own organisation’s COVID-19 notification process as detailed in previous building communications. 

Your organisation / employer will organise cleaning of the affected areas and advise DPS of the case through covid@aph.gov.au. For further information on this process please contact your nominated contact officer.

Further and more specific advice will be sent to building occupants as it becomes available.