COVID-19 Statement by the Presiding Officers regarding Australian Parliament House access and operations

Issue date: Friday, 29 January 2021

Following consultation between the Presiding Officers, parliamentary departments and relevant health officials, the following 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 remain 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 continue to 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 continue with limited numbers in a controlled and COVID Safe manner.
  • All passholders can access private areas.

However, conditions introduced last 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.

School visits 

Primary and secondary school visits will continue during sitting weeks and non-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.


The internal event spaces in APH will continue to be used under strict COVID arrangements.  Guidelines on the requirements should be obtained from

Tours for the public

The public can only access the building by booking a guided or self-guided tour. These must be booked in advance at and will run regularly for up to 90 minutes in duration.

No more than 500 people are permitted in the public areas of APH at any one time.

Use of Parliament House playing fields

The use of APH playing fields remains under consideration for later in February. Those interested in accessing and using the playing fields will be required to follow relevant ACT Public Health Directions. Information about bookings and requirements for users are available via the Health and Recreation Centre.

Parliament House courtyard access

The ongoing access to APH courtyards for events will be further assessed. In the meantime, events in courtyards will continue to be managed via the respective Whip’s Offices.

COVID Safe measures

COVID Safe measures are in place to ensure the health and safety of visitors and those working within APH. These measures include:

  • COVID Safe information, including reminding people who are unwell or have been in a COVID hotspot 14-days prior, not to visit APH;
  • collection of contact details upon booking to facilitate contact tracing, if 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.


Health officials have asked us to specifically re-emphasise their strong recommendation that masks should be worn 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 are available at building entrances and the level 1 cloak room.

For more information on the use of masks, please note the latest advice from the ACT Government, including the mandatory requirement for face masks for people aged 12 and over, while inside the Canberra Airport terminal and during domestic commercial flights in and out of Canberra.

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. 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.

Strict compliance with ACT orders and physical distancing must 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.