5 March 2021

Check In CBR app becomes mandatory, $1000 fines apply for not checking in

| Dominic Giannini
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The Check In CBR app

The Check In CBR app will be mandatory from 6 March. Photo: Michelle Kroll.

The Check In CBR app will be mandatory from this Saturday (6 March), with $1000 fines for individuals and $5000 fines for businesses caught flouting the new rules.

Businesses listed as “restricted” will need to use the app, including cafés, restaurants, clubs, beauty salons, hairdressers, adult services, swimming pools, fitness centres, cultural institutions, gaming and gambling venues, and entertainment venues.

More than 8,000 businesses and almost 400,000 people have downloaded the app as of Wednesday morning (3 March).

Health Minister Rachel Stephen-Smith said the take up of the app, which has become mandatory to coincide with the start of the Enlighten Festival’s Balloon Spectacular, is integral to reducing the time it takes to contact trace outbreaks.

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This could potentially avoid the need for isolated lockdowns if a community case emerges, she said.

“If we do have a case in the ACT, we need to get onto the contact tracing really quickly. The quicker we can do that, the quicker our health officials can access information about who has been in a venue where a positive case was [and] the less likely we will need to lockdown or put our restrictions back,” Ms Stephen-Smith said.

“It can save hours per business, potentially that is saving half a day or a day in overall contact tracing time and making sure that our contact tracers can identify high-risk venues and do that first. People also forget all the places they have been, and if they are using Check In CBR then all those locations are available.”

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Canberra Business Chamber CEO Graham Catt said the business community supports the rollout of the app but that there are some concerns with its implementation.

“What businesses need more than anything is to have customers in the business. They are wary of the impact that lockdowns and border closures have on customer confidence,” Mr Catt said.

“[Quick contact tracing] is the key to addressing these things … but on the other side, there are questions about how the Government will work with businesses to transition.

“How will the new rules work on the ground and be monitored? Businesses are taking responsibility here. Unfortunately, there are also people who cop abuse when they ask customers [to use the app].”

Businesses will need to set up a profile to ensure they can check-in people who do not have a smartphone or access to the app and must take reasonable steps to ensure patrons check-in.

The data is only accessed by ACT Health if it is needed for contact tracing purposes and contact details are deleted after 28 days.

To register your business, visit Check In CBR.

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I’m generally pro-privacy, and I find it fascinating how many people are ranting on here about protecting privacy, while they are logged on to the Riot-Act via facebook.

In September 2020 Health Minister Rachel Stephen-Smith said:

“This all continues to be voluntary, we don’t require people to provide their contact details but we really encourage them to.”

Now, despite there being no cases, minimal risk of transmission and breaking her previous undertaking, this local politician makes the app mandatory, without debate or public consultation, imposing potentially large fines on businesses and individuals who fail to comply with her dictates. Why?
Will provision of private contact details next be made mandatory when visiting every shop and any place humans gather? Everyone should be alarmed when a government removes basic rights and freedoms by stealth.

A little bit of selective quoting there. At that time there was and there still is a requirement to provide contact details to certain businesses. Mainly ones where you are sat in close proximity to others for a reasonable amount of time.

I just googled your quote and it was in relation to the app specifically not giving contact details as such. .

So sure there has been a change in that the app is now compulsory, but the reality is the basic requirement to provide contact details at certain business has not changed. All that has is the method of providing said information.

And I suspect the compulsory nature of the method is to keep in step with NSW which has also mandated use of the Service NSW app.

Gosh there is some good rambling in the comments on here – unless people have really got something to hide, I’m not sure what the big fuss is to be honest. But then again, I don’t naturally see ‘hidden conspiracy’ in absolutely everything either…. 😛

Try to see it as a principle. Once rights and freedoms are removed they are not easily clawed back. Totalitarianism succeeds by removing basic rights and freedoms first, then others later. People who fail to protest the removal of their long held rights and freedoms are condoning if not supporting the creep and then onslaught of totalitarianism. Every citizen of a democratic society has a duty to defend these rights and freedoms their ancestors fought for.

The old “Nothing to hide, nothing to fear argument” was the kind of thing used by the Stasi and Soviet secret police. It is about the right to privacy. You give yours up willingly like a good little sheep if you like. I certainly won’t.

Capital Retro4:00 pm 07 Mar 21

“The data is only accessed by ACT Health if it is needed for contact tracing purposes and contact details are deleted after 28 days.”

Are we to believe that if there is another wave or indeed another pandemic after the 28 days when the data is deleted the government will repeat the whole exercise in data gathering for Check In CBR app 2.0 ?

All these complaints. Come on, this isn’t onerous, and what have you all got to hide in your secret, mysterious lives? For most people it will be turn on the app and a quick point of it at the image. All done. Enjoy your coffee. Shhhuu, we won’t tell anyone you had coffee if you don’t want us to.

A very FEW won’t be able to use the app. They can be signed in.

Those who don’t get it have never lived in a country where rights and freedoms are stripped away bit by bit while a docile and compliant population is too daft to realize what is happening and just bleats that it is not an onerous imposition. Not this or the next or the next. Those who fail to proect ther rights are freedoms neither fought for them or deserve them.

And look where that attitude got the USA during Covid. No thank you.

With that attitude you would prefer to live in modern China with its constant surveillance and intrusive controls on everyday life, where every aspect of life is subject to centralised rule . Those who have such little regard or willingness to protect basic freedoms and liberties end up in a Stalinist or North Korean type dictatorship. No, I prefer Australia as it was pre-Covid. Without apps to monitor where I have a cup of coffee and all the other potential abuses. USA mid Covid is preferable to a society based on controls, monitoring, irrationality and fear-mongering. The greatest danger to a democracy is complacency, or willful complicity in anti-democratic actions.

We all preferred Australia pre Covid, but that’s not reality. Oh the good old days. And you are being irrational and paranoid.

Capital Retro10:25 am 07 Mar 21

I was at a cafe in Canberra yesterday with 3 other adults. The waiter said it wasn’t necessary for all of us to check in with the app, only one per table was required.

If that’s person is checking in for you then true. If not then each person needs to check in themselves.

Capital Retro7:07 pm 08 Mar 21

I can see the logic in what you say and thanks but this assumes that the person checking the others in knows who the others are and has their contact numbers etc.

The flaw is that they may be casual acquittances who may be unable to be tracked if needed.

So you turn up to cafes and sit down for a lunch with people who you don’t even know their names then CR?

Surely across a group someone can give enough information between them to have a reasonable shot at tracking them down – unless you truly do just invite a random off the street to dine with you!

Capital Retro11:07 am 12 Mar 21

I don’t invite people off the street to dine with me but if there is space at the table I am at I am happy to share the table with them.

It’s a great way to meet new people too (which may be a new experience for a lot of people in the Canberra bubble).

Under what rule, law or legislation is this being bought to us via?

Public Health Act 1997 is the legal instrument that gives the Chief Medical Officer powers to call a Public Health Emergency and to issue public health directions.

If you really care you can Google and read the actual act and directions.

Please read the Consolidated commonwealth Law: The Privacy Act 1988 Section 94.

this is an act of parliament not some trump’ed up local “rule”.


(c) refuses to allow another person to enter:

(i) premises that are otherwise accessible to the public; or

(ii) premises that the other person has a right to enter; or

(d) refuses to allow another person to participate in an activity; or

(e) refuses to receive goods or services from another person, or insists on providing less monetary consideration for the goods or services; or

(f) refuses to provide goods or services to another person, or insists on receiving more monetary consideration for the goods or services;

on the ground that, or on grounds that include the ground that, the other person:

(g) has not downloaded COVIDSafe to a communication device; or

(h) does not have COVIDSafe in operation on a communication device; or

(i) has not consented to uploading COVID app data from a communication device to the National COVIDSafe Data Store.

Completely irrelevant. This provision has precisely nothing to do with the use of the Check In CBR app. It relates only to the COVIDSafe app.

The ACMA has helpfully created fake phone and mobile numbers for various purposes, like when you are compelled to give a tracking phone number to an intrusive Orwellian government app.
The number for the ACT is (02) 5550 xxxx.

Any four last numbers.

And how long will this ridiculous requirement remain with us? Don’t be surprised if you find the government still tracking you in 2030.

I agree with Brigid Whitbread’s comment – no community transmission in the act for about 9 months. What is really going on?

What is the legislation underpinning this requirement?

To be fair, if you own a mobile phone that was made in about the last 10 years, the Government can pretty easily pull out sufficient information to track you anyway…..

Government has been able to do that since GSM phones came into being. It was a bit harder with old analogue phones.

What has changed in the last 10 years is we willingly give that information to private business without even trying just by installing apps on smart phones.

Very true JC – as you say a lot of information is given away voluntarily, and with pretty much every phone having GPS in it these days (of some form), its even easier than it once was.

I just don’t get the huge uproar on this issue – some are reacting like tomorrow we will have a burning down of the Legislative Assembly and a Night of the Long Knives to follow….

HiddenDragon8:59 pm 05 Mar 21

In light of this –


and the fact that there are many people who live in and visit this town whose private activities would be of interest to hackers, let’s hope the ACT government’s belated burst of zeal on this topic is matched by some serious cyber security for the information now being demanded.

Capital Retro5:08 pm 05 Mar 21

Both Liberals and Labor have been involved in branch stacking nationally but there has been more electoral misconduct by Labor, especially in Queensland the most serious case being accessing death records and using the names of the deceased to vote in their name in cases where their names were still on the electoral roll.

Labor will probably harvest all the personal details they can from this – it’s in their DNA.

Capital Retro1:29 pm 05 Mar 21

It’s a big ask to give personal movement information to any government, especially a Labor one.

Honest question: why is Labor worse than other governments on privacy?

Because he hates Labor.

Reading the comments from this poster and others he must think Andrew Barr is personally sitting there going over the data to find ways to put the screws in.

Not providing your details, or worse, providing false details, will not help when we have an outbreak. It is too late after the fact. Think about your family and the community, if not yourself.

“Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.”
Benjamin Franklin

Having liberty means the freedom to choose. So choosing to be vaccined is not something I give up, it is something I gain.

Bieng Covid sick is liklely to be long term for many (read Long Covid) and death is also likely to be long term. But I appreciate your quote neverthless.

And look how well that has worked out (not) for the USA.

That’s a pretty weak attempt to justify a 1984esque requirement to check in every place you go.

I certainly won’t be participating. I don’t believe the reasoning is valid at all, considering we have not had a locally transmitted case in months and months.

If the Big Brother 1984 Orwellian ACT Government starts fining people for not giving their personal and private details when having a coffee, then we should all start giving fake names to protect our rights to privacy and basic freedoms.

I suspect this is partly because the Feds tried to implement the “CovidSafe” app but made a muck of it and so, States and Territories have had to create their own. It was probably tricky to design. The CovidSafe app has to be running all the time with Bluetooth and location turned on (Apple) and battery savers off (Android) which just doesn’t work for too many people. The “CheckIn” apps are easier as they only require a QR reader and are only required in certain places. But, without the Bluetooth contact data, S&Ts have had to add location to the data collected. I think most/all S&Ts have made its use compulsory by law. When things are normal, this would be too much tracking of people. But things are not normal. I expect, the CheckIn apps around Oz will be abolished when the epidemic subsides. In the meantime, the data is expunged after 28 days which is reasonable.

You hope.
I admire your trust in the efficiency and perpetual good will of an indulgent government. However, you have forgotten that generations of our ancestors fought and died for the basic liberties (freedom from discrimination, persecution, centralised monitoring and control) that you are now so willing to give up.
“Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.”
Benjamin Franklin

Capital Retro5:10 pm 05 Mar 21

28 days in politics is a long time.

Argo please. The 28 day “guarantee” really? Who is going to get caught holding onto the information for more than 28 days? Who would be taken to court if that time frame was breached? Under what law, rule or legislation would they be charged, if caught?

Often it is not what is said in any news headlines, it is what is not said.

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