Time to read: About 3 to 4 minutes
14th June 2021 initial contact made with Minister Hunt followed up by:
TravelPaws letter to The Honourable Greg Hunt MP, Australian Minister for Health
29th July 2021 Response from Carolyn Paterson, Assistant Secretary to The Honourable Greg Hunt
Dear Ms Smith
Thank you for your correspondence of 30 June 2021 to the Minister for Health and Aged
Care, the Hon Greg Hunt MP, regarding hotel quarantine policy for guide dog handlers. The
Minister has asked me to reply.
The Minister and Department of Health acknowledge the challenges associated with
completing quarantine and agree that consideration should be given to the safety of
assistance dogs and their handlers. As such, the Minister has asked the Australian Health
Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC) to urgently consider this matter.
The AHPPC provides expert advice in relation to national quarantine policy and as part of
that advice, it publishes National Principles for Managed Quarantine (the Principles) which
set nationally agreed benchmarks. The Principles highlight the importance of equipping
facilities with resources allocated to support those with disabilities, the elderly, and the
infirm. Work is underway to consider additional guidance in relation to assistance dogs, as a
matter of priority.
Once finalised, advice will be published as an updated AHPPC statement on the Department
of Health website. In line with the Principles, any future purpose-built quarantine facility
would consider the needs of individuals with disabilities during the design and planning
phase of development.
In the meantime, should quarantine accommodation not meet the needs of individuals with
medical or compassionate circumstances, such as those with assistance dogs, they are
encouraged to apply for an exemption through the relevant state or territory, who will
consider requests on a case by case basis. Individuals may be granted an exemption to
complete their quarantine duration in their home environment.
The exemption process is primarily a matter for state and territory governments as each
jurisdiction is responsible for managing the COVID-19 response under its public health
legislation. However, as per public health best practice, all states and territories adhere to
the expert medical advice of the AHPPC and its expert sub-committees.
Thank you for writing.
Office of Health Protection and Response Division 29th July 2021
Nina's Response from TravelPaws 5th August 2021:
I am disappointed the AHPPC have not considered this matter to date. The ‘exemption to complete quarantine duration in their home environment’ does not resolve the issue for interstate travelling Handlers. I trust the AHPPC will also deal with this matter.
At any rate, I will post this correspondence to our members.
TravelPaws Founder & Director
Nina Smith is the Founder & Director of TravelPaws and Handler of Guide Dog, Nixon.