Wednesday, 16 June 2021
Questions without Notice
My question without notice is to the Minister representing the Minister for Health, Senator Colbeck. Given that the minister yesterday confirmed, 'The Australian government is responsible for the vaccination rollout of residents and workers in residential aged care,' I'd ask: can the minister explain why the Morrison government has failed to put in place any system to track COVID-19 vaccination of aged-care workers?
I thank Senator Carr for the question. It's not true that we don't have a system to track the vaccination of aged-care workers. We do have a system to track the vaccination of aged-care workers. There's a portal that went live a week and a half ago. It's compulsory, as of yesterday, for aged-care providers to report into that portal. As we advised the Senate committee at estimates a couple of weeks ago, there is a system in place to report worker vaccinations for COVID-19. It has been developed as a part of our realignment of the system of vaccination of aged-care workers. We will continue to report those figures publicly—as we indicated we would, at estimates.
Why did the Morrison government repeatedly reject offers to work cooperatively with the private sector on technology enabling the tracking of COVID-19 vaccinations in aged care, prior to the establishment of the portal?
I don't believe that the government has actually rejected any offers. We speak to a lot of providers of technology about doing a number of things. I've had a number of conversations with providers of technology with respect to worker registration, for example, on a number of occasions and with a number of different providers. Some of those providers have subsequently come back to us suggesting that their worker registration process might assist us with some of the other things that we were looking to achieve. We continue to have those discussions, but, of course, we have committed, as part of our royal commission response, to a workforce registration process. We have committed to that, and that will be implemented in conjunction with the sector, but what we haven't done is we haven't gone to any private sector proprietary businesses to take up their particular systems. We're looking to develop a system that provides for registration of the workforce more generally, and one of the features of that workforce registration scheme that we are putting in place could be—(Time expired)
With 84 per cent of the tragic and deadly COVID-19 outbreaks in residential aged-care facilities in Victoria having come from infected staff members, why, Minister, did you not heed the warnings of those private sector companies? You now say you are looking at their offers of assistance. Why should older Australians have any confidence, Minister, that you can actually help keep them safe?
(—) (): I completely reject the premise of Senator Carr's question. It's factually incorrect. We're working continuously to support senior Australians to ensure that they have access to vaccines, that the workforce continue to have access to vaccines and that we, importantly, ensure that aged-care residents are vaccinated. As of yesterday, over 94 per cent of aged-care providers had seen two visits of vaccinators to provide the doses, and 100 per cent of aged-care providers had had a first visit. In fact, 147,879 residents have now been vaccinated. So we continue to work in support of the—(Time expired)
Yes. I seek leave to table the answer to the question on notice confirming that 84 per cent of the tragic and deadly COVID-19 outbreaks in Victorian facilities were from a staff member.
Leave not granted.