House debates

Monday, 9 November 2020

Statements by Members

COVID-19: Victoria

10:32 am

Photo of Josh BurnsJosh Burns (Macnamara, Australian Labor Party) Share this | | Hansard source

It is really good to be here delivering these remarks in person. I would start by thanking the parliamentary staff, who have really worked so hard to enable the contributions of members from around the country, especially in my home state of Victoria, but not exclusively Victoria, because there are various reasons why members couldn't participate and attend parliament in person. It wasn't like being here, but it was a whole lot better than missing out. I want to put on the record my sincere thanks to all the staff who have made this possible.

I also want to remark today and say a big thank you to the people in my electorate and right across our great state of Victoria who have endured six months I haven't experienced in my life time—six months of some of the most isolating and difficult days that our state will hopefully ever have to see, where friends and family were separated, where businesses were forced to make sacrifices, where people were asked to stay at home and to wear masks and to do the right thing and to make sacrifices in order to save lives. It is surreal that I am standing in this great chamber, but it is also so wonderful that today marks 10 days since we have had a new coronavirus case in the great state of Victoria, something that would have been hard to imagine in early August when we were hitting over 700 cases. The top we hit was 725 cases in a single day; yet today we mark 10 days without a case.

To get to this place has been really difficult. People have made huge sacrifices personally and financially, and over 800 Victorians have lost their lives, many of whom were in aged-care homes and many of whom said goodbye to this world without their loved ones around them. That is something that will leave a mark on their families for rest of their lives and is immeasurably difficult. But today we have a sense of optimism, with only four active cases. We hope that those four Victorians are able to return to good health as soon as possible and that we are all in a state now to be able to begin the long road of economic recovery. Just as we have done throughout these last few months, we say to Victorians that we have been there with you and we have gotten through this together. It has been a remarkable achievement. Despite some loud voices trying to undermine the health advice, Victorians have risen above them, they've stood together and have achieved something that the rest of the world has not been able to do, which is to defeat the second wave of the coronavirus, and I couldn't be prouder of the great state of Victoria.