House debates

Tuesday, 1 June 2021

Statements by Members

COVID 19: Aged Care

1:56 pm

Photo of Tim WattsTim Watts (Gellibrand, Australian Labor Party, Shadow Assistant Minister for Communications and Cyber Security) Share this | | Hansard source

Last year 655 Victorians died from COVID-19 infections in aged-care facilities, 64 of them in four facilities in my electorate. I've spoken with their grieving families. They aren't statistics. They're beloved mothers, fathers, grandparents, friends who died in appalling circumstances, scared and cut off from the physical support of their loved ones. My heart breaks for these families today as they ask themselves whether this government has learnt anything from the deaths of their loved ones. The Morrison government said that aged-care residents and workers were its highest priority in the vaccine rollout and that they would all be vaccinated fully by March. But today, in June, as Victoria faces yet another outbreak from hotel quarantine, aged care is still vulnerable, with just over half of residents fully vaccinated. We heard today in Senate estimates that, as far as the department knows, less than 10 per cent of aged-care workers have been vaccinated, this despite all of the aged-care outbreaks in my electorate having been caused by staff bringing the infection into the facility.

There's no urgency. This Prime Minister says the vaccine rollout isn't a race. The aged-care services minister says he's comfortable with the rollout. That incompetent minister should have been sacked after last year's debacle, but this Prime Minister put his own political interests first, like he always does, and kept him. He refused to admit that any mistakes had been made last year, and now we have the same people making the same deadly mistakes all over again. It's indefensible and an insult to the memories of those loved one who have died. (Time expired)