The authorities in the southeastern state of New South Wales are threatening citizens who have not been vaccinated with the Covid-19 jab with imprisonment if they try to enter businesses without a vaccine passport.
New South Wales recently announced that it will soon come out of lockdown as soon as the vaccination rates increase to an acceptable amount for the government. Post-lockdown, only the vaccinated will be permitted to participate in all aspects of social life. To ensure that people attempting to enter social venues are vaccinated, the state government have rolled out plans to implement vaccine passports.
The government intend on introducing both paper and digital vaccine passports. The digital version will be introduced in the form of a smartphone app, and its development is currently being handled by Minister for Customer Service Victor Dominello of the state’s ruling Liberal Party.
Dominello has warned unvaccinated state residents that they may face prison time if they try to enter businesses without legitimate vaccine passports. He has made the warning in an attempt to ward off unvaccinated Australians from trying to use fake vaccine passports to manoeuvre the restrictions that remain for unvaccinated individuals post-lockdown.
The relevant public health order mandating the use of vaccine passports has not come out yet. However, this has not prevented Dominello from warning that “fraudsters”, will be held accountable for trying to rejoin the rest of society.
During an interview with ABC, Dominello said: “If people want to do the wrong thing, if they get found out, as I said, it could be jail time there.”
He continued, stating that he believes that the unvaccinated should be segregated from the vaccinated.
“Businesses and customers have a shared responsibility to comply with the rules and keep the public safe. People who create and use fake vaccine certificates will face the full force of the law and could face jail time.
“Fraud is a very serious matter and won’t be tolerated. My message is clear – put the community first and get vaccinated.”
In another interview, Dominello tried to ease concerns of business owners in New South Wales who think the vaccine passport will term them into vaccine police.
“What we need to do is make sure that the responsibility is primarily on the individual. Businesses, particularly small businesses, should not be de facto police officers,” Dominello said.
“When people make a fuss in relation to checking in with their [digital vaccine passports], and there are people that made a fuss, it was reported to police who were there to enforce public health orders.”
Previously, Dominello has stated that businesses need to take “reasonable steps” to ensure that they comply with the mandate. He said that those who do not follow the rules should be punished. Current state regulations would make non-compliant business owners liable for a fine of up to AU$55,000 (£29,341)