COVID NURSE: CCC still not committed to investigating Lauga
QUEENSLAND'S Crime and Corruption Commission is still weighing up whether to pursue an investigation into Keppel MP Brittany Lauga in response to a complaint made by the Nurses Professional Association of Queensland.
The complaint centres around the alleged release of private COVID tracking information to the media regarding Rockhampton's COVID-19 positive aged care nurse's road trip to Blackwater, which happened before the death of 30-year-old miner Nathan Turner.
In a report in The Australian on Monday they said the CCC had assessed the complaint and was understood to have determined the allegation against Ms Lauga had satisfied the threshold for corrupt conduct relating to "misuse of information" obtained in her work.
In a statement released to The Morning Bulletin late Monday afternoon, a CCC spokesperson said their assessment of this matter was yet to be finalised.
"It is important to note an assessment is not an investigation," the spokesperson said.
"Any allegation should be treated as unsubstantiated until a final outcome is reached.
"It is not appropriate for the CCC to comment further while the matter remains under assessment."
Given that Ms Lauga was yet to speak with the CCC about the issue, she questioned the accuracy of The Australian's reporting.
"I have not been made aware of any investigation by the CCC, nor have I been contacted by the CCC about this matter," Ms Lauga said.
"I will co-operate fully with the CCC to clear my name if they do decide to investigate.
"Let me be clear, I was not provided with any information by contact tracers about the nurse's trip to Blackwater to see a sunset.
"I learnt about the nurse's trip to Blackwater in the news media at the same time as the public."
This follows the death on May 26 of Mr Turner, who initially tested positive to COVID-19 after his passing.
Media reports suggested a possible link with a nurse who worked at the North Rockhampton Nursing Centre, who returned to work while awaiting coronavirus test results.
She subsequently tested positive, prompting a massive response from health authorities and forcing the centre to be locked down on May 14.
During their investigations, Queensland Health authorities became aware that the nurse travelled the 167 km from Rockhampton to Blackwater before she was diagnosed with the virus and Mr Turner's death.
It was later determined that Mr Turner did not have the virus.
"She told the contact tracers that she did not get out of the car or meet anyone there so it was not necessary to alert anyone in Blackwater," Ms Lauga said in May.
Speaking to the Brisbane Times in June, Nurses' Professional Association of Queensland spokesman Jack McGuire said the CCC needed to investigate how alleged information the nurse gave to contact tracers was passed on to Ms Lauga, which was then leaked to the media.
"She used prized information that is not available to the public to attack our member," Mr McGuire said.
"She cherry picked information so it is now with the CCC."
Not wishing to jeopardise the ongoing investigation, Mr McGuire was unable to provide detailed answers to the Morning Bulletin's questions about the CCC investigation on Monday.
He was emphatic about the need for patient privacy to be respected to ensure the effectiveness of the contact tracing process.
"It is incredibly important that information provided to contact tracers remains confidential," Mr McGuire said.
"If it does not, or is likely to be leaked, Queenslanders will not engage with the process and the system falls over."