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

Issue date: Friday, 20 August 2021

Following our ongoing discussions and correspondence with Commonwealth health officials and agencies including the Chief Medical Officer, the following temporary and precautionary changes are in place at Australian Parliament House (APH) in order to ensure the Commonwealth Parliament can continue its essential work while reducing the risk of COVID-19 transmission.

As announced on 12 August, the changes implemented at Australian Parliament House (APH) prior to the most recent sitting fortnight will continue to mitigate the risk of COVID-19 transmission.

With increased numbers of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the ACT, further measures will be implemented from 23 August:

  • Across the entire building, including in the offices of members, senators, office holders, ministers and parliamentary departments, only genuinely and absolutely essential staff required to conduct their work onsite and unable to do so remotely are to come into the building. Where work can be undertaken from home it should be done so.
  • All those entering the building must check the ACT Government COVID-19 website and exposure sites updates prior to attending APH, and regularly through each day as it is constantly updated.
  • Anybody with any symptoms consistent with COVID-19 must not enter the building. They must remain at home and follow ACT Health advice.
  • Entry to the building will be taken as confirmation that you fully comply with the above and have not been at an exposure site, you do not have symptoms and have complied with ACT Health orders.
  • Nurses will undertake temperature testing at all entrances.

As per our previous direction issued on 12 August, parliamentarians who return to the ACT must comply with the ACT Public Health Directions.

The building will continue to be closed for the duration of the current ACT lockdown. Only those staff necessary to maintain essential building functions will be present.

Building occupants who are considered essential to the running of the building and the media who are considered essential by their employers can continue to attend APH during the lockdown.

APH operations

During the next sitting period, non-essential services in the building will remain closed. There will be a restricted catering service for parliamentarians and essential staff.

Wearing face masks is mandatory in the ACT from 5pm Thursday 12 August. If you are aged 12 years and over you must wear a mask at all times when leaving home, including in workplaces. People will be strongly discouraged from spending time in common areas.

Important safeguards

All building occupants are reminded:

  • Continue to follow strict COVID-safe hygiene and physical distancing requirements. 
  • Use the masks and sanitiser available throughout the building for your use.
  • Do not attend the building if you are feeling unwell.
  • The Check-in CBR app must be used to register attendance where posted around the building.
  • Where possible minimise time in the building and interactions within the building

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 APH.

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 (

More advice on entering the ACT is located here.

ACT exposure sites

The ACT Government updates a list of exposure sites on its website several times each day. Please check this frequently.

If you have been to any of these locations at the dates and times specified, please follow the ACT Health advice. 

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 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.