House debates

Tuesday, 30 November 2021

Questions without Notice

COVID-19: Quarantine

2:37 pm

Photo of Alicia PayneAlicia Payne (Canberra, Australian Labor Party) Share this | | Hansard source

My question is to the Prime Minister. Can the Prime Minister confirm that, in a report released this month, the Prime Minister's handpicked quarantine adviser, Jane Halton, told him 'purpose-built facilities represent the gold standard of quarantine' and 'monitoring variants of concern should ensure high-risk travellers are allocated to these purpose-built facilities'? Can the Prime Minister confirm he has failed to establish a single purpose-built quarantine facility?

Photo of Scott MorrisonScott Morrison (Cook, Liberal Party, Prime Minister) Share this | | Hansard source

I thank the member for her question. We are doing exactly that, as recommended. I reinforce what I've already said to this House. Over the course of this pandemic the arrangements we put in place, unlike other countries—the Minister for Health has just made the reference to OECD countries. Had we gone down the same path and not taken the steps we did take, more than 30,000 Australians would be dead today. Thirty thousand Australians would have perished in this pandemic were it not for the timely and effective measures this government put in place, working with the states and territories to ensure that result. And not only that but, with the economic strength this country has shown through the course of this pandemic, some 350,000 people are coming back into work. We ensured that the structure and strength of our economy was maintained through the pandemic so it can be springing back now, after the lockdowns are over, and we are seeing Australians going back into work.

I was talking to the Confederation of Australian Industry this morning. Throughout the pandemic Australian businesses were taking advantage of the investment allowances we put in place in the budget to set up for the economic recovery. Their vote of confidence in the Australian economy in the midst of a pandemic shows great character, great resilience and fortitude, and that is what is setting up the opportunity in the years ahead. But we cannot take that economic recovery for granted. Australia must secure this economic recovery, and that requires the continued economic policy settings which our government has put in place for a business led recovery, for an enterprise led recovery, for an entrepreneur led recovery—not having government crowd that out, as those opposite would do in not understanding when it's time for governments to step back so Australians and Australian businesses can step forward. The higher-taxing DNA of the Labor Party will only risk that recovery, and that's why we must secure that recovery with the policies of our government.