I wrote a letter to the Minister for Transport, Ben Carroll, after a constituent reached out to me regarding a lack of clear instructions for CPV drivers picking up passengers who have travelled from red zones.
For CPV drivers, airport pickups can now pose a significant risk, especially for drivers who are unvaccinated. If you pick up a passenger who later tests positive for COVID-19 you will also be considered a close contact and will need to isolate for 14 days. These are now the risks of the job.
See below the response from the Minister regarding this issue.
Dear Mr Barton
Thank you for your email of 2 August 2021 regarding the provision of commercial passenger vehicle (CPV) services to passengers arriving from a red zone and COVID-19 vaccinations. I note you have requested clarification on whether CPV drivers can transport passengers arriving from a red zone and what requirements apply to these services.
The Department of Health (DH) sets the requirements for the transport of passengers arriving from designated high-risk zones, this includes orange, red and extreme risk zones. Based on the current public health advice from DH, both CPVs and public transport operators can transport passengers arriving from these zones.
Passengers arriving via air, sea, or land from one of these zones must meet the requirements of the Victorian Travel Permit System, which is also led by DH.
Passengers arriving from designated high-risk areas at Melbourne Airport are also assessed by DH Authorised officers to ensure they have the correct permit before they can access public transport options. It is not a CPV drivers’ responsibility to ensure that passengers meet these requirements.
Surveillance testing requirements for CPV drivers are also stipulated by DH. The current testing requirements on CPV drivers are:
• CPV drivers involved in transporting international air crew (excluding crew entering Victoria from a Commonwealth-designated green zone country) and maritime crew (of a vessel from outside of Australia) must be tested once per week for the 14 days after the last interaction.
• All other CPV drivers are recommended to undergo surveillance testing.
Regardless of the above, if a driver has symptoms of COVID-19 they should get tested and isolate until they get a negative result.
Commercial Passenger Vehicles Victoria (CPVV) provides advice to industry about how to operate in a COVIDSafe manner, this advice applies regardless of the passenger’s origin.
COVIDSafe Settings apply in all CPVs, which means face masks must be worn at all times unless a lawful exemption applies, a QR Code must be displayed, and vehicle cleaning regulations apply.
CPVV continues to conduct overt and covert operations at Melbourne Airport to target touting and has identified and deterred offenders with on-the-spot fines of $1,983 or penalties of up to $9,913. To date, 13 infringement notices have been issued by CPVV for touting offences. Touting at the airport has been reduced in response to this activity and CPVV is continuing its compliance and enforcement activities with a presence at the airport
Your offer of assistance in promoting the uptake of COVID-19 vaccines is appreciated. CPV drivers were identified as a priority group under the Victorian Government COVID-19 Vaccination Program and are eligible for vaccination. CPVV has recently provided booking service providers with the Australian Department of Health’s COVID-19 vaccination – Business kit that can be used to promote the vaccine to drivers. It includes digital assets,
brochures, posters, infographics, and information sheets.
Some organisations may wish to offer rewards or ‘incentives’ to drivers who are fully vaccinated. Conditions on offering rewards are on the Therapeutic Goods Administration website. This is a useful reference for you to pass onto those in your network that may be
considering an incentive program to encourage COVID-19 vaccinations. I hope this information is of use.
Thank you again for taking the time to raise these matters.