TRANSCRIPT: COVID-19 in the regions, closure of disability hub, vaccine rollout



SUBJECTS: Scott Morrison’s three-year anniversary as a Prime Minister who doesn’t take responsibility; COVID-19 in the regions; Closure of a disability vaccine hub; Vaccine rollout; Aged care workers. 

SHARON CLAYDON, MEMBER FOR NEWCASTLE: Well, it has been three long years of zero leadership under this Prime Minister. This is a Prime Minister that's been ducking, weaving, and denying responsibility, at every opportunity, and you need look no further than his handling of COVID-19 in the regions.

Last Friday, Newcastle awoke to news of a sudden closure of a disability dedicated vaccine hub.

This closure has caused immense distress in my community because this is a cohort that is a) especially vulnerable and b) absolutely in need of a dedicated site for vaccinations.

What happens? I spend the entire weekend trying to talk to contractors about how they're going to mop up Mr Morrison's mess.

Because we wouldn't be in the situation of facing a closure of the disability vaccine hub if Mr Morrison had done his job in the first place and had secured enough vaccines. This was a hub that was phenomenal in its success, having rolled out more than 5,000 vaccinations to people with disability, their carers and disability support workers in less than 10 weeks. You'd think this was a model to rollout for the nation.

But no, Mr Morrison hits the panic button because he understands that he hasn't done enough vaccinations across the nation. He realises he's got a problem with aged care workers not being vaccinated, and make no mistake that is a massive issue.

So he gets his contractors to now smash the two together. We're going to have a co-located site. No more dedicated sites for people with disability. That's the kind of panic switch play, blame somebody else, get someone else to do your mopping up, that we're getting used to. This is a Prime Minister that, when it comes to the regions, he likes the red carpet to be rolled out for his announcement. But when we need him, he's nowhere to be found.

He sent our Pfizer vaccines down to Sydney, despite the fact we're trying to manage with our own COVID outbreaks in Newcastle and the Hunter region. He closes the disability hubs. And he still has nothing to say to those aged care workers, who are not for want of trying, are left unvaccinated and unprotected all because Mr Morrison didn't do his job in the first place.  But he's the last to stand up and own a mistake.

That's not the kind of leadership we want in Australia. It's time Mr Morrison actually took responsibility. You can't keep ducking weaving and denying.