House debates

Wednesday, 25 August 2021

Questions without Notice

COVID-19: Vaccination

2:40 pm

Photo of Ed HusicEd Husic (Chifley, Australian Labor Party, Shadow Minister for Industry and Innovation) Share this | | Hansard source

[by video link] My question is to the Prime Minister. Prime Minister, Mount Druitt, at heart of the Chifley electorate, has been smashed by COVID. Nearly two weeks ago, Labor wrote to the Prime Minister, urging him to utilise the ADF to set up and run vaccination hubs in Western Sydney. The government said that this is unnecessary. Why won't the government do everything it can to get vulnerable people in my electorate and in Western Sydney vaccinated?

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

Thank you very much to the member for Chifley. The presumption in the question is incorrect. We have 777 Commonwealth vaccination sites across Western Sydney, and there are 12 LGAs, in particular, that they cover. We have over 2½ thousand Commonwealth vaccination sites across New South Wales. For example, with regard to Blacktown, I know that there are 192 sites within 10 kilometres of the middle of Blacktown; with regard to Fairfield, I know that there are 300 sites within 10 kilometres of Fairfield. These are being run by GPs, pharmacists and Commonwealth vaccination clinics. These are fundamentally critical sites. There is no impediment to any site ordering more AstraZeneca. They have uncapped allocations. These sites are already available. There are 777 Commonwealth vaccination sites operating across Western Sydney as we speak.

I want to thank those people who are doing an extraordinary job. The way they are operating is saving lives and protecting lives. They have been progressively expanding in number. We're seeing now that this has helped New South Wales achieve globally leading vaccination rates over the last month. I want to give a shout-out to Casey Briggs from the ABC. Nobody would accuse him of being anything other than robustly independent. He has been doing the analysis. He has identified the fact that Australia has been able to vaccinate at rates faster than at any time in the UK over a seven-day period, and now the US. But New South Wales has been even faster than the nation as a whole. These 777 sites across Western Sydney have been at the heart of delivering those outcomes. So I respectfully but categorically disagree with the presumption of the question.