Monday, 22 February 2021
Questions without Notice
My question is to the Minister representing the Minister for Immigration, Citizenship and Multicultural Affairs, Senator Cash. With the COVID-19 vaccine rollout now underway, could the minister please update the Senate on how the Morrison government is supporting Australia's multicultural communities to access the COVID-19 vaccine?
I thank Senator Hughes for her question. Australia's COVID-19 vaccination program is officially underway. What we saw yesterday, 21 February 2021, was 84-year-old World War II survivor Jane Malysiak, who was able to get the first jab. I think it was a proud moment for all Australians.
Ensuring that safe and effective COVID vaccines are available to everyone in Australia is a key priority of the Morrison government, and that is why, as a government, we are extending free access to COVID-19 vaccines to all visas holders in Australia. This will include refugees, asylum seekers, temporary protection visa holders and those on bridging visas.
We also know that many people in the first groups to be vaccinated are from culturally and linguistically diverse communities, making timely access to translated and culturally appropriate information critical. The Department of Health vaccine hub has translations in 63 languages available on its website and, now, on mobile devices. To build on this resource the government has developed a comprehensive communications plan to reach people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds. The campaign will run across a number of channels, including traditional and social media, and utilise existing networks of health professionals, local community and, of course, grassroots organisations. A range of translated resources have also been developed for multicultural communities, including radio and print editorials in language web content, social media posts and posters. We're also working with SBS to produce short explainer videos on the vaccine rollout in more than 60 languages and with the Migration Council Australia on an animated vaccine explainer in 29 languages.
As you have heard from both the Prime Minister and the Minister for Health, our vaccine rollout ensures that people who are most at risk and who need protection the most will receive a vaccine first. The Pfizer vaccine will be administered through hospital vaccination clinics in each state and territory and in aged-care and disability-care facilities across Australia.
Approximately 80,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine will be released in the first week. Under the Australian government's plan, quarantine and border workers and aged-care residents are on track to be vaccinated by April 2021. In addition to our support for multicultural communities, our public information campaign will keep Australians up to date about the safety and effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccinations, including how and when to get the vaccine. Our key message to Australians is that it is safe, it is effective and it will protect you and your loved ones.
The COVID-19 vaccination national rollout is a crucial next step in our economic recovery. For our most affected businesses, particularly in the tourism sector and the arts and events industries, the vaccine will be particularly welcomed. We are already emerging from the COVID-19 recession in a way that very few advanced economies are. We've seen over 800,000 jobs, and that's approximately 93 per cent of those lost during COVID-19, return to the economy. We are continuing to see consumer confidence, business confidence and job ads grow to levels higher than before the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite the impacts of COVID-19, an additional 46,000 businesses were trading over the year to June 2020. Around $200 billion in our economic support is sitting on the balance sheet of families and businesses, providing a long tail of economic stimulus to support our recovery.