Laws Brought in under the Emergency Management Act
In addition to the new Covid-19 laws brought in under the Public Health Act the Tasmanian Premier has also declared a state of emergency under Section 40 of the Emergency Management Act 2006. The first state of emergency declaration was made in March 2020; because the laws only allow these to last 12 weeks it has been repeatedly extended.
The Premier’s declaration of a state of emergency authorised the Tasmanian State Controller to exercise all of their powers under Schedule 2 of the Emergency Management Act.
These powers include:
- The ability to direct that the resources of the Tasmanian Government be made available for emergency management and;
- The ability to direct that the resources of any Tasmanian council be made available for emergency management and;
- The ability to direct that the owner of any private property make those resources available for emergency management and;
- The ability to take any action the State Controller considers appropriate for managing the emergency.
In accordance with Section 60 of the Emergency Management Act it is an offence to fail to comply with the lawful direction of an emergency management worker who is attempting to ensure that a direction made under the Act is being carried out.
It is also an offence to knowingly provide them with false or misleading information.
These offences carry a maximum penalty of 100 penalty units or six months in prison. However an infringement notice is the most likely outcome and will not exceed 9 penalty units.
Using these broad powers, the State Controller, who is the Tasmanian Police Commissioner may make declarations. As with the declarations made by the Director of Public Health the declarations of the State Controller effectively become new laws in Tasmania.