The Australian Government has established protocols for the exercise of emergency powers to ensure that the emergency powers are only used where necessary to protect the health of Australians, based on expert advice and following appropriate consultation. These emergency powers may override any Commonwealth, state or territory law.
The Health Minister has determined that an Australian citizen or permanent resident must not travel outside of Australia (by air or sea or the operator of an outgoing aircraft or vessel), unless an exemption is granted to them (set out in sections 6 and 7 of the Determination). The Determination is in force for an initial period of 4 weeks. A further revision of this arrangement can occur towards the end of the period to assess whether it continues to be necessary.
A person who fails to comply with the Determination may commit a criminal offence and be imprisoned for a maximum 5 years, or be fined 300 penalty units ($63,000).
Section 6 provides an exemption to the travel restrictions requirements under section 5 of the Determination to the following persons:
- a person ordinarily resident in a country other than Australia;
- a person who is member of the crew of an aircraft or vessel (other than an outgoing aircraft vessel) or if a worker associated with the safety or maintenance of the aircraft or vessel;
- a person engaged in the day to day conduct of inbound and outbound freight;
- a person whose travel is associated with essential work at an offshore facility;
- a person who is travelling on official government business (including a member of the Australian Defence Force).2. Exemptions – granted by an APS employee in the Australian Border Force
Section 7 provides that exceptional circumstances, an APS employee in the Australian Border Force may grant an exemption to:
- An Australian citizen;
- A permanent resident;
- An operator of an outgoing passenger aircraft or vessel
The section provides that exceptional circumstances are demonstrated by the Australian Citizen, permanent resident or operator providing a compelling reason for needing to leave Australian territory.
This section also provides that an exemption made under this section must be in writing
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