Chief Health Officer knew about police accessing SafeWA data in January, but ministers clueless until March

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November 25, 2020 – SafeWA app is launched to help contact tracers get in touch with people who are possibly exposed to the COVID-19 virus when there are community outbreaks.

December 5, 2020 – Checking in at businesses and venues using physical contact registers or SafeWA is made mandatory. WA Premier Mark McGowan says the app will only be used for contact tracing.

December 12, 2020 – Rebels bikie Nick Martin shot dead at the Perth Motorplex in Kwinana.

December 14, 2020 – WA Police served the Department of Health with an order to produce SafeWA data related to Martin’s death in terms of potential witnesses at the event.

December 23, 2020 – WA Police receives data related to 1639 SafeWA check-ins from the Department of Health.

December 24, 2020 – WA Police served the Department of Health with a second order to produce to access SafeWA data related to Martin’s death.

December 27, 2020 – WA Police receives data related to 800 SafeWA check-ins from the Department of Health.

Early January – Contact tracing team notifies CHO that police have requested access to SafeWA data.

January 31, 2021 – WA goes into a five-day lockdown.

February, 2021 – A man is stabbed three times in Victoria Park.

February 25, 2021 – Police make a request for SafeWA data from the Department of Health, in relation to an unknown case, but the information was older than 28 days and had already been destroyed.

Late February, 2021 – A policy is put in place by WA Police where an officer has to go to an independent superintendent in order to try and gain access to SafeWA data. Health Director General David Russell-Weisz is ’informally notified of the issue.

March 2, 2021 – Mr McGowan backtracks on comments he was in talks with Police Commissioner Chris Dawson to explore the legality of extending controlled border measures like the G2G entry pass system post-pandemic.

March 10, 2021 – Police serve the Department of Health for the second time to access SafeWA data related to the stabbing offence and potential witnesses.

March 12, 2021 – Department of Health Director General David Russell-Weisz writes a letter to Mr Dawson about the data requests.

March 13, 2021 – The state election is held.

March 19, 2021 – Mr Dawson replies to Dr Russell-Weisz’s letter.

March 31, 2021 – Health Minister Roger Cook is made aware requests for SafeWA data have been made by WA Police which is the same day the department provides information about the stabbing to police.

April 1, 2021 – Police make a fifth request which was still pending as of Thursday.

April, 2021 – Sometime in early April the Premier is made aware by a staff member in his office that police are accessing SafeWA data.

April 14, 2021 – Mr McGowan meets with the Police Commissioner and asks they stop seeking the data.

April 23, 2021 – WA goes into a three-day lockdown after a community outbreak of COVID-19.

May 7, 2021 – A sixth request for SafeWA data is made by police.

May 20, 2021 – The Parliamentary Counsel’s Office, which prepares bills for ministers, is told to draft a law to stop police from being able to access SafeWA data.

May 21, 2021 –  The first draft of a law to protect the data of SafeWA users is finished.

May 27 – A seventh request for SafeWA data is made by police but was knocked back because of a technical deficiency.

June 15, 2021 – The WA government announces it is introducing a new bill to stop police from being able to access SafeWA data.

June 17, 2021 – The new law is passed in both houses of Parliament.



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