NSW Responding to COVID-19

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Helen Carroll 0402 969 141

The COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic was the dominant story of 2020-21 and PWA played a crucial frontline role in our defence against this disease.

On 29 March 2020, with the COVID-19 pandemic escalating globally, the NSW Government implemented a process to isolate Australian citizens returning from overseas in accordance with the Public Health (COVID-19 Air Transportation Quarantine) Order 2020.  Returning travelers were required to quarantine in Sydney hotels, with security personnel urgently needed to enforce the isolation. A fast-tracked solution was required to get the program up and running quickly.  Under emergency management provisions, and using the Whole of Government Security Panel arrangements, PWA sourced and deployed over 400 security guards within two business days to the first eight hotels.

The program has since become arguably the largest security operation of a continuous nature in Australia’s history. This requires unprecedented inter-agency collaboration and outstanding performance from the NSW security industry - a process managed by PWA.  NSW Police leads this program, supported by PWA (security and audit), NSW Health (advice) and NSW Treasury (accommodation, catering, funding), with the team covering the full quarantine chain from airport transport to community return.

Execution of this program required the development of collaborative systems and processes, innovative problem-solving, strong stakeholder relationships and ways of working, effective information-sharing, and consideration of privacy and data security. This has been an iterative process and continues to evolve as the program is extended.  A best practice continuous improvement process used the findings from 4,913 audits to direct corrective actions and remedial advice and to support the strategic goals and operational outcomes for the program.

The quarantine process continues to be Australia’s frontline defence against COVID-19, with security operations continuing to roster an average of 778 guards across 20 hotels each day.  By June 2021 more than and 200,000 thousand Australians had returned home via the NSW quarantine program. The program’s success has been instrumental in allowing the economy to recover as we continue to deal with the pandemic.

“This is an important and personal message from me to every single worker involved in our hotel quarantine system. From the bottom of my heart and on behalf of all of the people of NSW, from the Premier to every single member of our community, I want to say an incredibly big thank you for the absolutely amazing work you have done for over twelve months now You have been that frontline that has allowed our economy to recover and Australia to be one of the nations that everyone sees around the world as the best case for how we deal with COVID-19”.

Stuart Ayres, NSW Minister for Tourism

Cleaner Classrooms for return to school

When the initial wave of COVID-19 was brought under control, PWA had to react quickly when the NSW Government announced that schools would return to face-to-face learning from 11 May 2020. Leveraging the Whole of Government Cleaning Contract, which is managed by PWA, a panel of suitably qualified cleaning companies was established with the ability to be deployed across the state. Working closely with The Department of Education and NSW Health, cleaning specifications were developed, and enhanced cleaning programs were implemented at all NSW schools. The cleaning protocols include the additional wipe down of regularly touched hard surfaces, such as door handles, light switches, handrails and desks in classrooms, teacher’s offices, and administrative areas. The program was implemented within 10 days, allowing students to safely return to school and giving parents a deserved break from the home classroom.

  • Hotel Quarantine Exterior
  • Hotel Security Briefing
  • Quarantine Safety Precautions