Monday, 23 March 2020
Questions without Notice
Thank you very much, Prime Minister, and the member for Melbourne. As the Prime Minister said, there are two parts to the strategy. One is to reduce the demand or to flatten the curve, as is now a phrase which is sadly all too familiar to all Australians as well as everybody in this chamber. That's about reducing the number of people who contract coronavirus and spreading the load whilst protecting the vulnerable.
At the same time, since the very earliest times when the Chief Medical Officer declared this to be a disease of human pandemic potential on 21 January, he and the state chief health officers, the state ministers—and I want to thank all of the state ministers as their health services are doing an extraordinary job, and I particularly want to thank NSW Health and the New South Wales minister, Brad Hazzard; they have borne the brunt of this, and they have done a Herculean job—and all of the leaders have been focusing on this. It's been one of the key elements—and normally we wouldn't say this—in the National Security Committee requests that the Prime Minister has made, to compare peak demand with peak supply. We are seeking to double the capacity of intensive care units, if not more, including ventilators. I can inform the House that there has been a major order for an extra 1,000 ventilators, what are called invasive ventilators, placed with ResMed. Non-invasive ventilators are now being determined by the AHPPC requirement, and four firms have stepped in to help with production—ResMed, GE, Philips and Medtronic. They are showing a spirit which is beyond what any of us could have hoped. We thank them. We honour them. We will work with them.