NSW has introduced a new law in a bid to stop unvaccinated residents lying about their status to flout health rules that exclude them from most freedoms.
It is now illegal for unvaccinated residents in NSW to lie about their vaccination status, under a new order signed by the Health Minister overnight.
NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard signed a public health order yesterday which prevents a person from wrongfully claiming they are vaccinated against Covid-19.
The public health order states: “A person must not provide, display or produce to another person information or evidence, including vaccination evidence, purporting to show the person is a fully vaccinated person, unless the information or evidence is true and accurate.”
It is not clear yet what penalties residents will face if they lie about their vaccination status or show fake proof vaccination.
However, the current maximum penalty for breaching a public health order is $11,000 to six months in jail for an individual.
NSW Police already have the power to a $1000 on-the-spot fines for to individuals breaching a public health order.
A $5000 fine can also be issued for failing to answer questions asked by a contact tracer and failing to comply with self-isolation directions.
This new rule is the latest in a number of restrictions in place for unvaccinated residents.
Under the current rules, unvaccinated residents cannot join in on the raft of freedoms being enjoying by fully vaccinated people across the state.
This means those that have chosen not to get the vaccine must essentially live under lockdown restrictions until December 1, when the rules will be eased.
These are the current restrictions for unvaccinated people:
• If you are over the age of 16 you cannot visit another person’s home, expect in limit circumstances such as caring or compassionate reasons, childcare or in the case of an emergency
• You can only participate in a gathering for sport or exercise with one other person or with your household
• You can only visit essential services. Unvaccinated people are barred from places like gyms, non-essential retail, personal services such as hairdressers and indoor recreation or entertainment facilities
• Outdoor gatherings are limited to your household or with one other person outside of your household
• Unvaccinated people cannot attend outdoor events
• You can only visit hospitality venues for take away
• Unvaccinated people can only attend small wedding and funeral services
• You cannot take a holiday or undertake recreation outside the local government area you live in
Vax passports ‘easily forged’
The new public health order comes after NSW businesses and residents were warned that Australia’s vaccine passports could be “easily forged”.
Earlier this month, security expert Vanessa Teague, from the Australian National University, said both the NSW and Victoria vaccine passports and Medicare certificates “don’t prove anything”, which makes it hard to “justify checking them when they are easily fabricated”.
“There are not really meaningful security features in any versions we have seen in Australia, with possibly the exception being for international travel,” she told news.com.au.
Dr Teague, said the Victorian vaccine passport includes a cutesy little animation, which could easily be copied even with a simple video screenshot.
“I think if the technology isn’t improved the important thing for everyone else to understand is that the certificates in their current form really can’t be relied upon,” she said.
“So if you are running a service or a health service that really relies on checking that person is vaccinated, you need to understand that the certificate is really easily forged.”