Greens seek virus policy oversight in Qld

·1-min read

The Greens will move to set up a new committee to scrutinise the Queensland government's COVID-19 response.

The select group of seven state MPs would probe the government's pandemic policies, which currently have no independent scrutiny or public oversight.

Greens MP Michael Berkman says the committee would regularly review border closures, lockdowns, hotel quarantine, contract tracing, hospital capacity, economic support for workers and renters, and national cabinet decisions.

The public trust in the government response is waning, Mr Berkman warns, and it will only decline further without more transparency.

"We are at the most crucial point of the COVID-19 response, where we have to deal with complicated questions about things like vaccine passports, targets and criteria for ending lockdowns, and tackling future variants," he said in a statement.

"We've seen residents locked out of their home state while NRL players and their families are waved through - yet we have no statutory body to scrutinise these decisions.

"Keeping Queenslanders in the dark is not only undemocratic, but it creates an environment where conspiracy theories can flourish and that is incredibly dangerous."

Mr Berkman said he would move a bill to establish the committee comprised of three government members, three opposition members and one crossbencher.

The proposed committee would have a non-government chair and powers to inquire into the pandemic response and publicly report its findings like the Parliamentary Crime and Corruption Committee.

"Right now there is no opportunity for public hearings to scrutinise COVID-19 decisions, including those made by the CHO, whose significant powers will be extended to April 2022 under the legislation being debated in parliament this week," he added.

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