Monday, 23 August 2021
Questions without Notice
I thank Senator Keneally for her question. I don't have a full brief on this matter, but let me provide the information that I do have to the Senate. As I understand it, the New South Wales minister for health wrote to the Commonwealth minister for health, Minister Hunt, on 11 August and was responded to by phone on the same day. That was followed up by phone on 12 August, with a formal reply sent by letter on 13 August. This fact has been acknowledged and confirmed by Mr Hazzard on several occasions. On 12 August, at a press conference, Minister Hazzard, I am advised, said: 'They responded very quickly and I think Minister Hunt responded within minutes to say they would see what they could do to try to get onto it. So we just have to hope everyone's got enough staff and enough vaccines to be able to get up there and do what we need to do.' On 13 August, Mr Hazzard said: 'They've stepped up. Minister Hunt responded quite quickly. I think it was within an hour or two he responded to me and indicated that they would have the appropriate committees put in place to get the ADF working with the public health network up there with the western New South Wales local health district.'
The Commonwealth responded within 24 hours by commissioning 50 ADF members for community support and compliance and also five ADF medical teams of up to 14 members each for western New South Wales. In addition—