Senate debates

Tuesday, 31 August 2021


COVID-19: Vaccination

1:53 pm

Photo of Dean SmithDean Smith (WA, Liberal Party) Share this | | Hansard source

I rise to acknowledge the rapid progress of the government's COVID-19 vaccine rollout and its critical role in unlocking my home state of Western Australia and the whole nation. In doing so, I acknowledge the work done by so many to make this possible and the millions of Australians who have already been vaccinated, protecting themselves, their families and their community. Based on numbers released yesterday, more than 19 million vaccine doses have been administered nationally, growing by around a million doses every three days. This means that one in two Australians over 50 and one in three over 16 are now fully vaccinated against COVID-19. Australians are being vaccinated at a faster rate than was ever achieved in the United Kingdom, in the United States or across Europe.

Western Australia has been fortunate during this pandemic to date, enjoying freedoms that many other Australians have not been able to enjoy, but we must not allow this fortunate position to become complacency or rely only on the defence of our border. As we started the week, WA's vaccination rate was lagging behind those of other states and territories, with 49.8 per cent having received their first dose and just 31 per cent their second.

Meeting WA's vaccination targets is an important part of the Morrison government's national plan, which will minimise lockdowns and pave a safe path to reopening both WA and Australia—opening up to each other and to the entire world. So I strongly encourage everybody in Western Australia who has not yet taken steps to get vaccinated to please do so. Now is the time. As patron senator for Perth's northern suburbs, the Kimberley and the Pilbara, I particularly encourage locals there to book their vaccinations now, and I ask members of the many multicultural groups with which I work closely and which contribute so much to our wonderful Western Australian community to do the same. To those who have already been vaccinated, we say thank you. Your local community, your local businesses and your country also say thank you. Now is the time to vaccinate.