27 April 2020

CHRIS BOWEN, SHADOW MINISTER FOR HEALTH: Thanks for coming this afternoon. Today is the first full day of operation of the COVIDSafe app. The figures we've seen overnight are encouraging more than a million Australians downloading the app. I'm one of them. Many of my colleagues have downloaded the app and it is encouraging to see. There's a long way to go. We have to get around 40 per cent of Australians downloading the app to get the sort of take-up that will make a big difference and we know that won't be easy.

But Labor will continue to work constructively with the Government on the app. The Government has had the right to introduce the app and they've proceeded to do so. It will require legislation for the privacy protections, again we will work constructively with the Government on that. I have indicated and Mark Dreyfus and I will recommend to the Shadow Cabinet and the Caucus that the privacy legislation be carried because it is important that the privacy of Australians is protected and that people have the peace of mind to enable them to download the app.

Of course, we've also suggested to the government that the legislation and the privacy elements of the app be referred to the COVID-19 Select Committee and the Government has accepted that recommendation which I appreciate very much. So again some encouraging signs overnight in relation to downloading the app. Just as we see some encouraging signs around the country when it comes to infection rates but there's a long way to go yet. No room for complacency. No room for people thinking we're through this.

Tomorrow of course the Katy Gallagher chaired COVID-19 Committee will also sit, hear evidence from the Treasury and explore the Government's economic handling of the COVID crisis. This Committee is a very important process for accountability. We're glad that Parliament is now going to sit on May 11 and that week. We want it to sit more than that but in the mean time through the Senate Committee and through other committees, we'll hold the Government to account.

We'll also provide constructive engagement to the Government on the task at hand.

Thanks for coming.