Face Masks for Transport NSW Workers

Hearing that the Government was not providing Transport NSW staff with face masks despite calls from the RTBU and the opening of a COVID-19 testing facility at Central station, Abigail asked what steps they were taking to protect the health of frontline transport staff.

Ms ABIGAIL BOYD: I direct my question to the Minister for the Public Service and Employee Relations, Aboriginal Affairs, and the Arts, representing the Minister for Transport and Roads. On 29 July NSW Health announced the opening of a COVID-19 testing clinic at Central railway station. I understand Sydney Trains workers stationed at Central were not notified prior to the opening of the clinic and have not been provided with face masks as part of their personal protective equipment. Given that the Government has identified public transport as high risk, and it is now directing people who may have COVID‑19 to go to Australia's largest train station for testing, what steps is the Government taking to provide Sydney Trains workers at Central with personal face masks and other protection from COVID-19?

The Hon. DON HARWIN (Special Minister of State, and Minister for the Public Service and Employee Relations, Aboriginal Affairs, and the Arts): I thank Ms Abigail Boyd for her question, which requires a level of detail that I do not have to hand. I will check whether the Minister for Transport and Roads in the other place has provided me with relevant information. In general, Transport for NSW strongly recommends face masks be worn by customer-facing and operational staff, especially in situations where physical distancing is difficult or not possible. Face masks are not mandatory for transport staff. In line with NSW Health advice, people should stay at home if they feel unwell, practice physical distancing and ensure good hand hygiene. The use of a face mask does not replace the need for those important measures. Nevertheless, that information does not cover other matters referred to in the question. I will get further information for Ms Abigail Boyd and hopefully allay her concerns.

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