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COVID CASES IN FIRST NATIONS COMMUNITIES AN ABSENCE OF MORRISON-JOYCE GOVERNMENT LEADERSHIP

August 24, 2021

First Nations communities are bearing the brunt of the highly infectious third wave of the pandemic. 
 
This is a direct result of the lack  leadership from the Morrison-Joyce Government. 
 
Last week, Labor outlined the need for a nationally uniform plan to address this looming crisis. 
 
Food shortages and no coordination with trusted First Nations community leaders
 
We need to see close cooperation and coordination between trusted First Nations community organisations and leaders, so that government and authorities properly understand the unique logistical and cultural dynamics of First Nations communities. 
 
We are talking about households that live far distances from townships, with limited private transport. 
 
Food shortages, low vaccination rates and barriers to getting tested, demonstrate this cooperation and coordination with First Nations communities and leaders is simply not happening. 
 
Inadequate testing resources 
 
Labor called for the bolstering of local vaccination, testing and resources. 
 
And yet we continue to see low testing rates, and lengthy delays in test results. 
 
We need localised data 
 
We need to get localised data on vaccination rates and vaccine supplies, so that government and authorities know where the need is, and local communities know where they can get vaccines and when. 
 
And yet we are continuing to hear confusion about the availability of vaccines from these communities. 
 
What are the contingencies for hospitals?
 
Labor outlined the need for a clear outline of the contingencies for treatment should people require it. 
 
We now know that 13 people have been hospitalised in Dubbo as of Monday. Five are in intensive care. And one is on a ventilator. 
 
What is the contingency should primary health care in Western and Far Western New South Wales reach capacity? 
 
We need a national plan 
 
Cases in Wilcannia have increased to 53 of a population of 750.
 
Goodooga – just 20km south of the Queensland border – has recorded six cases for a community of 150 people. 
 
And Shepparton has recorded 43 cases in this outbreak. 
 
With critically low First Nations vaccine rates around the nation, it’s time for the Morrison-Joyce Government to acknowledge that this is no longer a Western NSW issue. 
 
This is a country-wide First Nations COVID crisis, and it will require a nationally consistent plan. 

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