Media Releases

AS GOVERNMENT FALLS BEHIND ON FIRST NATIONS COVID CASES LABOR PROPOSES NATIONWIDE PLAN

August 18, 2021

As the Morrison-Joyce Government scrambles to play catch up on the growing number of First Nations COVID cases, Labor is proposing a national plan in anticipation of further spread to more First Nations communities.  
 
The Morrison-Joyce Government promised First Nations people would be vaccinated by the winter, and they have failed.
 
The Morrison-Joyce Government is once again playing whack-a-mole and making it up as they go along – redirecting vaccines one week, deploying ADF personnel the next, and slyly publishing vaccination data. 
 
The Commonwealth is not only responsible for the rollout of the vaccines, it is also responsible for the primary health care of First Nations people.
 
It shouldn’t have had to come to this but Labor is now spelling out to this lazy, indifferent and neglectful Government a bare minimum of what needs to be done.
 
First – to work closely with and support First Nations community health organisations. The Government promised a new approach by pledging to do what works and that is putting local First Nations organisations in charge. They’ve failed to do this and local organisations are crying out for coordination and leadership from this absent Government.
 
Second – to support local vaccination, testing and resources. We are talking about parts of Australia with communities and households located far away from medical services. We don’t want to see people not getting vaccinated and tested because it is too difficult. We must also understand cultural barriers and a lack of access to technology will present challenges to contact tracing in these areas.   
 
Third – get the data. We still don’t have localised data on vaccination rates, and we still don’t have localised data on the availability of vaccines. Localised data is critical to understanding the areas of vulnerability and where resources need to be directed.
 
Fourth – clearly outline to communities contingencies for treatment should people require it.
 
A national response to the First Nations covid crisis should identify clear steps to get back on the front foot in urban, as well as regional and remote areas.
 
ADF personnel must work closely with and complement the good work of trusted community leaders and organisations.
 
The Prime Minister is always too little too late. Why does it always take a catastrophe before this Prime Minister will act?
 

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