Recently, Moreton Bay Able Anglers (Able Anglers Pty Ltd) made contact with several local, state and federal members of the Australian Government.  Our primary goal was to seek permission and clarity surrounding the Chief Health Officer’s Non-Essential Business Activity and Undertaking Closure Direction No.5 – 9 April 2020.

This morning, 12th April 2020, we received an in depth phone call with Inspector Lee Jeffries from the Moreton District, Queensland Police Service.  After the conversation, we received something that we have been seeking for the past 2 weeks and we are very excited but appreciative of this written confirmation.

 

Thank you for your time on the phone earlier today which related to tweets circulated to recipients, including the Honourable Mr Mark Ryan, Minister for Police and Corrective Services concerning policing of Health Directions connected with fishing and boating.

I appreciate your concerns as to wider community confusion with dynamic changing circumstances connected with regulating movements, non-essential businesses, activities and gatherings associated with the COVID-19 health crisis.

I understand that Moreton Bay Able Anglers provides respite to persons with mental health disabilities through fishing for food.

The provision of respite services is not regulated by the Chief Health Officer’s Non-Essential Business Activity and Undertaking Closure Direction No.5 – 9 April 2020. Therefore, there is no prohibition on the business continuing.

In terms of fishing activities the Chief Health Officer’s Home Confinement, Movement and Gathering Direction – 2 April 2020 permits all Queensland residents to travel from the person’s principal place of residence … only to the extent reasonably necessary to accomplish … to perform work, to carry out an essential business and obtain food (amongst a raft of other listed activities).  Further travel and gatherings for these purposes are limited to the person accompanied by members of the same household, or alternatively, no more than one person who is not a member of their household.  Importantly the Chief Health Officer’s Direction extends the ‘two person’ general rule to additionally include more than one person where that person is a carer or support person, where there is no other reasonable way for the purpose of gathering (e.g. obtaining food, essential goods and services, performing work etc)

Therefore, where you are providing a service with a client, for the permitted purpose of fishing for food, who is also necessarily supported by a carer or support person, this appears to come within the activities which are permitted by the Chief Health Officer’s Directions.

I also remind that social distancing is a key overarching feature to mitigate the risk of spreading COVID-19.

I encourage continual reference to the Chief Health Officer’s Directions to keep abreast of any relevant changes which may affect the service you are providing. These directions can be found on the Queensland Government web site: https://www.health.qld.gov.au/system-governance/legislation/cho-public-health-directions-under-expanded-public-health-act-powers

Again thank you for your time earlier today.  One of the essential roles being undertaken by the Queensland Police Service is working with government and the community in both educating the community about the regulation provided by the Chief Health Officer’s Directions, but also to take appropriate action in the event of clear breaches of those directions which place the community at risk.

In short, this means that our service is listed as essential due to being a respite service and our service is permitted to continue to operate provided the social distancing ruling is adhered to.