Premier refuses to release health advice on schools decision

PREMIER Annastacia Palaszczuk has refused to release the health advice which her Government relied on to only keep schools open to the children of essential workers.

The Courier-Mail yesterday asked the Premier's office what the health advice was but was told it was confidential.

Opposition Leader Deb Frecklington took aim at the revelation, claiming the Premier needed to be honest with Queenslanders and treat them like adults.

"Queenslanders are making extraordinary sacrifices based on claimed medical advice, it is only right that advice is released in full," she said.

It comes after a day of confusing messaging around who could send their children to school.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison implored teachers to return to classrooms in an extraordinary video where he warned the education of the nation's students "hangs in the balance".

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison. Picture: AAP Image/Lukas Coch
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison. Picture: AAP Image/Lukas Coch

All Queensland teachers, except those deemed vulnerable, will go back when holidays finish next week, however the powerful Queensland Teachers' Union has questioned why this is necessary.

Only the children of essential workers who cannot work from home, or vulnerable children known to the departments of Child Safety or Youth Justice can physically go to school.

Parents or carers working from home have been urged to contact their individual principals if they have any concerns.

But Ms Palaszczuk incorrectly stated yesterday; "Anyone who is in the workforce is considered an essential worker."

The Premier maintained schools should remain open only to children of essential workers and those vulnerable and said there was support for Queensland's position which she'd taken to the previous National Cabinet.

" … And I think when you look at what the Prime Minister said schools are open, teachers are at the schools, will be at the schools in Queensland and they are open for children of essential workers and they're also open for vulnerable students," she said.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk at parliament. Picture: Annette Dew
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk at parliament. Picture: Annette Dew

"I'm very comfortable with the position that Queensland is taking in relation to returning to school next week."

Ms Palaszczuk said National Cabinet considered schools should be open to students of essential workers, which was influenced by health advice.

Asked what would happen if lots of children attended school next and couldn't fit into classrooms because of social distancing, the Premier said she doubted that would happen.

Federal Education Minister Dan Tehan said working parents "should not feel guilty" for sending their kids to school next week.

Mr Tehan urged parents with jobs to send their children back to class when school resumes next week.

"It is absolutely vital our students get the best education they possibly can,'' he said.

"The clear message is for all those parents who are working and they can't look after their children safely at home, school is open.

Queensland yesterday recorded its lowest rise in COVID-19 cases since early March, with just five new cases added, bringing the tally to 999 after some numbers were revised.




Originally published as Premier refuses to release health advice following schools decision