House debates

Thursday, 24 June 2021

Questions without Notice


2:33 pm

Photo of Trent ZimmermanTrent Zimmerman (North Sydney, Liberal Party) Share this | | Hansard source

My question is to the Minister for Health and Aged Care. Will the minister outline to the House how the Morrison government is continuing to protect Australians from the global COVID-19 pandemic?

Photo of Greg HuntGreg Hunt (Flinders, Liberal Party, Minister for Health and Aged Care) Share this | | Hansard source

I want to thank the member for North Sydney and particularly acknowledge his role in ensuring that as many people as possible come forward for vaccination in his electorate, as I'm sure that everybody in this chamber is doing—encouraging those within their electorates to take the opportunity to step forward.

One of the critical things is that, in keeping Australians safe, we look at the circumstances around the world. In the last 24 hours there have been 429,000 cases and over 9,600 lives lost. That brings it this year to almost 2.1 million lives lost around the world—a figure which represents nearly half the population of our two great cities. That is the official figure but, as the World Health Organization has indicated, the reality is far, far greater. In Australia, our No. 1 one goal has been to save lives and to protect lives. This year we have had no lives lost in this country to anybody who has caught COVID in Australia.

That comparison with the rest of the world is staggering. Equally, as the Prime Minister mentioned earlier, on the advice that we had from the National Incident Room shortly before joining you, no Australian at this point in time is in ICU with COVID. Every case is a risk, and every case is a challenge. But, in a staggering global pandemic, with almost 97 million cases and 2.1 million lives lost this year, that there is no Australian who has lost their life having caught COVID here and to have no Australian in ICU at this point in time, whilst every day we watch, is the real measure of our national success. Having said that, what we're also seeing is the vaccination rollout. We're seeing today the 7,000,000th vaccination in Australia. As of last night, 27.7 per cent of Australians 16 years of age and over have been vaccinated. Approximately 50 per cent of over-50s have been vaccinated, and, very significantly, over two-thirds of over-70s have been vaccinated. As well, 100 per cent of aged-care facilities have had vaccinations around Australia.

These elements are fundamental in saving lives and protecting lives. Along with protecting the borders, testing, tracing and distancing, all of these things have come together to protect Australia, to protect Australians and to put Australia in the position we're in. We're in a world in which 2.1 million lives have been lost. At this moment, no Australian this year has caught COVID and lost their life in Australia. For that, we are deeply thankful.