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

Issue date: Thursday, 27 January 2022

Following ongoing discussions with Commonwealth health officials and agencies, restrictions will be in place for the upcoming sitting of Parliament (7-18 February) which includes a week of Additional Estimates, to ensure the Commonwealth Parliament can continue it essential work while reducing the risk of COVID-19 transmission.

The sittings of Parliament are essential. To ensure Parliament can sit safely, and for continuity of building operations, the building will close to the public and numbers of staff will again be limited.

The measures, which will ensure the Commonwealth Parliament can continue its essential work uninterrupted while reducing the risk of COVID-19 transmission, include:

  • Only staff who are considered genuinely and absolutely essential by their employer, and are unable to work remotely, are to come into the building. Where work can be undertaken from home it should be done so. This includes all staff in the offices of members, senators, office holders, ministers, parliamentary departments and the media
  • Nurses will undertake temperature testing at all entrances
  • Face masks are mandatory indoors, especially when in or travelling through communal areas of the building
  • As the building is closed to the public, any events that have already been booked for this period will not proceed and no event or courtyard bookings will be taken

APH operations

During the next sitting period, non-essential services in the building will be closed. A restricted catering service will continue for those who need to work in the building. These changes include:

  • The Health and Recreation Centre, courts and playing fields will be open with strictly limited numbers.  Bookings will be essential
  • The Parliament Shop will close
  • Chairs and tables will be removed from catering outlets
  • Queen’s Terrace Café and Members and Guests Dining Room will be closed
  • Take home meals are still available – through In-Room Dining, and Staff Dining Room
  • Meals delivered through In-Room Dining will be via contactless delivery
  • All DPS operated food outlets will remain cashless
  • Reusable (keep) cups will not be accepted during this period

The health settings will continue to be monitored and any change will be communicated promptly.

Visitors to the building

Visitors may only be signed in for essential meetings. A pass holder who signs visitors into the building is responsible for those guests while they are in Parliament House. After the meeting, those visitors must be escorted back to a security entrance by the person who signed them in. If the visitor has a subsequent meeting with a different office, they must be signed in again at the security entrance by a representative of that other office.

Important safeguards

All building occupants are reminded to:

  • Continue to follow strict COVID-safe hygiene and physical distancing requirements
  • Use the masks and sanitiser that are available throughout the building for your use
  • Do not attend the building if you are feeling unwell
  • Use the Check-in CBR app to register attendance where posted around the building
  • 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.

Further and more specific advice will be provided as it becomes available.