Thursday, 2 September 2021
Questions without Notice
COVID-19: National Plan
My question is to the Prime Minister. Australian families and businesses, including in my electorate of Barker, want to be able to plan for their futures with confidence, free of the uncertainty and damage of widespread lockdowns. Will the Prime Minister outline to the House how sticking to the national plan will safely achieve this goal, in line with increasing vaccination rates?
I thank the member for Barker for his question. I know the member for Barker will be very pleased that, in the state of South Australia, Premier Marshall is a strong supporter of the national plan, a very strong supporter of the national plan, because he knows that it enables Australians to plan for their future with confidence, as the member asks. That plan gives people that certainty to be able to look ahead. And in the member's electorate, which spans a vast array of business activities and production activities, having the certainty that the plan delivers is critically important to his constituents. And Premier Marshall understands that. The Premier of South Australia understands that support for the national plan is vital to the state's interests so that we can live with the virus and not live in fear of it, that we can live without lockdowns, and that businesses and Australians shouldn't have to fear lockdowns in the future—that they can have the certainty to get on with their lives creates the confidence that is necessary for them to invest and go forward.
The national plan provides a safe path out, a safe path out based on the best possible medical and scientific advice and evidence, as demonstrated through the Doherty institute, which means we can go forward with confidence about our safety, as the member says. It's not just about opening up for the good of our economy and our wellbeing; it is the right thing to do in terms of the safety of Australians and it is based on the best possible medical advice. The South Australian government understand this, because they're implementing the plan by being the state who put up their hand to do home quarantine trials so that home quarantine can work right across Australia, in New South Wales and Victoria, in Queensland and in other states. I was discussing this with the Victorian Premier last night, with the New South Wales Premier the night before. Home quarantine will mean people will be able to travel again. Australians who have been vaccinated can return to Australia. Australians who have been vaccinated can leave the country and return, as they once could, and have the opportunity of home quarantine, which is so important.
The vaccination rate is now 20 million doses or more having been distributed and administered across the country; 60.5 per cent first dose for the population aged over 16 and around 80 per cent for the population aged over 50. In South Australia, 35.5 per cent have had the double dose, and 53.7 per cent are on the first dose. And that is in a state that, like the great state of Tasmania, has low levels or zero levels of COVID, and yet their vaccination programs are forging ahead. I thank the Premier of South Australia and I thank the Premier of Tasmania for achieving those results. The Premier in South Australia understands that his state cannot go forward without the national plan to get the workers it needs, to get the advances it needs and to get the certainty that is required. (Time expired)