House debates

Thursday, 18 March 2021

Statements by Members

COVID-19: Vaccination

1:33 pm

Photo of Kristy McBainKristy McBain (Eden-Monaro, Australian Labor Party) Share this | | Hansard source

The empathy and understanding of the Australian people has been central in setting us up for success in post-pandemic Australia. The communities I represent in the mighty Eden-Monaro need a stronger recovery than most, following the triple whammy of drought, bushfires and COVID-19. At these critical flashpoints, people turn to their government for leadership, and right now there is a crisis of confidence. Until we get the vaccine in the arms of people, the social and economic security we all crave will be undermined.

Yesterday, locations for the 1b rollout were announced. People want to do the right thing and get vaccinated. But this government is making it hard, and I'm worried that the most vulnerable members of our community are going to be placed at further risk. Under the current plan, if you're over 70 and have a disability or an underlying medical condition and you live in Cooma, Bombala or Jindabyne, you potentially face a five-hour round trip to Bega, Canberra or Narooma. This makes no sense in the real world. On top of that, I've had local doctors on the phone upset that they are being set up to fail and let their community down. My priority is to support people's desire to do the right thing, and I raise my community's concerns so that the Morrison government can make the necessary adjustments. There are almost a thousand eligible people in the Snowy Monaro alone who will have to jump through these hoops. A five-hour drive adds to risk and expense. Let's not blow the position of strength we find ourselves in by ignoring local voices.