Hotel Quarantine FailuresSpeech
Victorians understand the pain and challenges of lockdown all too well. We also understand the latest restrictions in Victoria are a direct result of failures in hotel quarantine. We have now seen 21 outbreaks in our country. We know that hotels are not the answer to quarantining against this fast-mutating virus. The cost of lockdowns continues to mount. There are economic costs, massive losses of revenue to businesses, and huge losses of wages and workers' livelihoods. Then there's the cost to health and wellbeing. People are understandably frustrated, anxious and fearful, particularly in Victoria, where we have seen our fourth lockdown. In my electorate of Corangamite, we've just been labelled as a place that has had exposure sites, in Anglesea, and I really feel for those people. We must stand together on this. We must get people vaccinated.
The Morrison government had two jobs: quarantine and the vaccine rollout. They have failed on both. As a consequence, people are suffering. Veterans have struggled to recognise Anzac Day. Communities and families are torn apart. This week in my electorate, netball and soccer matches were put off, pubs and restaurants were shut, family barbecues were cancelled, birthday celebrations and weddings fell by the wayside, and families couldn't visit loved ones in aged-care facilities. Australians in lockdown cannot do what we love most.
It's just so obvious—hotels are not designed to be used for quarantine. You do not need an advanced degree in epidemiology to recognise that close living in hotels, shared airflow and being in populated, dense areas make hotels poor venues to isolate and quarantine. If the government needed a report to tell them, it was lucky to have a former secretary of the Department of Health, Jane Halton, provide the insight over seven months ago. The solution is simple: we need built-for-purpose quarantine facilities. One potential location would be the well-isolated and well-positioned Avalon Airport. The Australian Capital Territory built a field hospital in 37 days. These are spacious places, in sweeping areas with no standing population. We must build these quarantine centres now. It is challenging, but it is the federal government's job. The priority of this government is to play politics and blame others rather than do its job. Let's get the act together, please, Prime Minister. Let's make sure that we keep people safe.Share Tweet