Thursday, 2 September 2021
Questions without Notice
COVID-19: Indigenous Australians
As of yesterday, we had 38 per cent of Indigenous Australians with their first dose and 21 per cent with their second. Let me say, right from the beginning, we provided vaccines to the ACCHOs in the last week of March this year so that they were prepared. We had a steering committee established to develop the vaccine program. When I look at the membership of that vaccine program I see some outstanding Indigenous leaders: Dawn Casey, Professor James Ward, John Patterson, Jill Gallagher, Dr Mark Wenitong and Olga Havnen. All of them have been involved in framing the action that is needed on the ground.
That plan has involved using the capacity of every avenue that can provide the levels of support—a massive coordinated effort through Commonwealth and state governments, Aboriginal health services, the ADF, the flying doctors, GPs, pharmacies and local community groups. I must admit that it's been challenging. I notice that the member for Barton and the member for Hindmarsh yesterday talked about hesitancy being an issue. Today they put out a new press release saying it's not that but lack of information. So it's a backflip.
It's a combination of things. We have to work to make sure that we put in place the programs that are needed. It doesn't matter what you on the other side say. This is about protecting Indigenous Australians in Aboriginal communities right across—
Mr Dick interjecting—