Media Releases

STATEMENT ON ONGOING FIRST NATIONS COVID CRISIS (1)

September 02, 2021

First Nations vaccination rates patchy despite Government’s rhetoric
 
Despite the Morrison-Joyce Government’s rhetoric, First Nations vaccination rates are patchy and unacceptably low in some communities, newly-released localised data shows
 
The Government was forced to reveal the localised data after Labor moved a motion in the Senate last week for an order for the production of documents.
 
The data shows low vaccination rates at a localised level by state and territory, with full vaccination rates as low as 13.77 per cent in Far West NSW; 15 per cent in outback South Australia; seven per cent in outback Western Australia and 12 per cent in Cairns and Central Queensland.
 
All states and territories apart from Victoria are well below the general population.
 
Labor has been demanding localised data for weeks. It is critical to identifying areas of risk and in need of urgent supplies.
 
This shows that the Government has localised up-to-date data in its possession but chooses not to publish it.
 
Motorhomes in Wilcannia – but what’s the plan for other communities?
 
The use of 30 temporary motorhomes in Wilcannia is an admission by authorities that overcrowded housing is a real impediment to self-isolation, stopping the spread and keeping the community safe – some two and a half weeks after the town recorded its first case.  
 
But we know that Wilcannia is not the only community facing the spread of COVID and overcrowded housing.
 
The question for the Morrison-Joyce Government is what is its plan for other communities, not just in New South Wales but around the country?
 
Spread of misinformation
 
Misinformation about vaccines continues to spread to vulnerable communities anxious and desperate to stop further transmission of COVID.
 
The Government needs to ramp up its communication to counter the misinformation in these communities.
 
It must begin with empowering trusted local Aboriginal community organisations and leaders, but based on what we’re hearing from on the ground and what we’re seeing with the Government’s poor First Nations vaccination rates, this is not happening. 

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