Media coverage: The Canberra Times
The NSW Council of Civil Liberties has called for the state's chief medical officer to be consulted about fines issued under extraordinary laws designed to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
It follows concern that police may be issuing infringement notices to people who do not pose a risk of spreading the virus.
NSWCCL spokesman Stephen Blanks disputed whether going for a drive should be classified as an offence. "That activity has negligible community risk, of course there could be a risk if there was an accident, but it's very remote," he said.
"The experience of the past week suggests the commissioner should be getting some guidance from the chief medical officer of NSW as to whether particular activities involve community health risk."
Mr Blanks warned maintaining community support for the laws would be essential in the weeks and months ahead.
"It's unprecedented, the idea that everyone is confined to their homes unless they have a reasonable excuse to leave. The fact is there is widespread community observance of the laws, but the most important thing is the community support for them is maintained," he said.
"If the police are seen to be enforcing them in a heavy-handed way it will result in a loss of community support and will be counter-productive."