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Phoebe Loomes

Report delay on NSW minister COVID status

Health Minister Brad Hazzard has rubbished a parliamentary inquiry into his COVID-19 status. (Bianca De Marchi/AAP PHOTOS) (AAP)

A parliamentary report due into the COVID-19 status of NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard has been delayed after he accused the inquiry of suppressing evidence.

The report, due to be published on Thursday, has been pushed back after Mr Hazzard lambasted the inquiry in a letter to its chair, Labor MP Greg Donnelly, published in the Sydney Morning Herald on Wednesday.

The examination was based on falsehoods and had failed to engage with evidence clearing him of wrongdoing, Mr Hazzard wrote.

The committee had decided to postpone publishing its findings in light of the letter, a spokesperson from the NSW Greens told AAP.

The committee is now set to meet again on Thursday when it will determine a new date to publish its report.

Mr Hazzard was accused of receiving preferential treatment by NSW Health contact tracers, after avoiding mandatory isolation, despite allegedly having contact with Nationals MP Adam Marshall during a dinner in June 2021.

Mr Marshall later tested positive for COVID-19.

"I remind the committee that the genesis of this inquiry was a spurious claim that I had shaken hands with Adam Marshall at the event in question," Mr Hazzard wrote.

The health minister also released text messages he exchanged with Nationals MP Adam Marshall from the time of the event, which he said made clear the pair had not shaken hands.

Committee member and One Nation MP Mark Latham said the report had been delayed because staff from NSW Health had been "hopeless" in providing the information required.

Staff called to the inquiry had given three different accounts of what occurred, he told AAP.

"It's been like extracting teeth," Mr Latham said.

"Their record keeping for such an important matter - that COVID and contact tracing status of the health minister is just simply appalling."

The inquiry, established by Mr Latham and Mr Donnelly, held one hearing last month, and was told there was a misalignment between Mr Hazzard and Mr Marshall's versions of events.

Mr Marshall told the inquiry the pair had spoken at close quarters, while Mr Hazzard said there had been no contact.

The health minister's claims were supported by other witnesses.

NSW Chief Health Officer Kerry Chant defended the contact tracing process under questioning from Mr Latham, saying the process was "very thorough".

"The contact tracing process was a robust one," Dr Chant said.

AAP has contacted Mr Donnelly and Mr Hazzard for comment.

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