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

Issue date: Tuesday, 12 October 2021

The precautionary measures introduced before the last sitting of Parliament in August and September will remain in place for the next sitting fortnight from 18 October 2021 to ensure the Commonwealth Parliament can continue its essential work while reducing the risk of COVID-19 transmission.

These measures have been agreed following discussions with Commonwealth Health officials and recognise the ACT Government’s introduction of covid restrictions since the August sittings.

The measures 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;
  • Witnesses for Senate Estimates can be signed in but should be kept to a minimum;
  • 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; and
  • Nurses will undertake temperature testing at all entrances.

Parliamentarians who return to the ACT must comply with the ACT Public Health Directions.

The building will continue to be closed to the public and only those staff necessary to maintain essential building functions will be present.

APH operations

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

Wearing of face masks is currently mandatory in the ACT. Anyone aged 12 years and over 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 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.

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 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.