Radio 2CC - COVID-19 vaccine rollout in Eden-Monaro

Radio 2CC - COVID-19 vaccine rollout in Eden-Monaro Main Image

16 February 2021

Tuesday, 16 February 2021


LEON DELANEY, PRESENTER: Joining me now, the federal Labor member for Eden-Monaro Kristy McBain - Good afternoon.


DELANEY: Thanks for joining us a little bit off topic, but you just heard the end of my discussion with Joel Dignam - is Labor planning to dump its negative gearing policy?

MCBAIN: Yes, Labor's already said that it will not take any of the same policies to the next election that it took to the 2019 election.

DELANEY: Okay, so what about the next election? Will you revive the negative gearing policy? Or has the party not yet made a decision on that?

MCBAIN: No, it wouldn't, it wouldn't take the same policy to the next election. You know, I think it was made pretty clear to the Labor Party and to many people that were supporting reforms that our country wasn't quite ready for, for those major reforms so we won't be taking any of the same policies.

DELANEY: Yeah, the history of navigating negative gearing is interesting, isn't it? But we'll, we'll save that discussion for another day, it's been one of those things that, yes, the voters have often rejected attempts to remove negative gearing provisions.

And so I think the people have spoken. Meanwhile, it's been revealed that there are no Coronavirus vaccination hubs to be located in the entire electorate of Eden-Monaro. That can't be right, what's going on?

MCBAIN: Well, I am a bit perplexed too and I've just been speaking with, with a local doctor, who's been advised, that they'll be required to take two days off work, to travel to a major centre to have the vaccination before they can travel back home again.

And, you know, it seems like a very odd set of circumstances where we're asking our frontline doctors and nurses and medical healthcare professionals to be taking time off work, travelling to certain centres and at different locations, to make sure that they can actually receive the vaccinations.

DELANEY: Now, correct me if I'm wrong, but I'm pretty sure I heard our Deputy Prime Minister Mick Mack is saying that the vaccine will be delivered to every far reaching corner of the country, or words to that effect?

Did he not mean it would be delivered? Did he mean that the people in those far reaching corners of the country would actually have to jump in the car and come to town in order to get access to the vaccine? Is that what he meant?

MCBAIN: Well, obviously, having had a discussion now, with local doctors, they're being told that it's them that we'll be having to travel from these far flung places, to centralised locations to receive the vaccines.

And it's not a situation where it is being rolled out to those frontline health care workers and aged care worker in the locations they’re in. You know, we all knew that at some point a vaccination was going to be approved.

We all knew that at some point, it would land in the country and its finally landed in the country and it's being rolled out, but where was the pre planning so that there were, you know, hubs being put in, in more centralised locations in the regions, at this point, it's, you know, a matter of the region's having to travel - again!

DELANEY: Yeah, absolutely. And while we're talking about doctors and other health care professionals having to travel to somewhere like Canberra for example, to get the vaccine, because obviously, health care frontline workers are in the phase 1A list of people to be vaccinated.

But then so residents of aged care facilities, people who normally don't go for seven hour return journeys - they just stay in their aged care facility, people come to them to bring them the services that they require, what provisions have been made on that front.

MCBAIN: Look, as far as I can tell the you know, we were told today in question time that there was an aged care facility rollout plan. No one's seen it. No one knows what it is. No one knows how this is going to happen or when. Aged care residents are also meant to be in the phase 1A rollout.

And at this point in time, you know, it doesn't appear that there's going to be any difference that it looks like residents may be having to travel to receive the vaccination. I mean, it's just not appropriate. I mean, my nan has been in an aged care facility, and unfortunately, she passed away last year, but there is there is no way that she could have endured a bus ride to receive a vaccination. That's just not fair on our elderly.

DELANEY: Yeah. Now, obviously, there's some jurisdictional things here too, because here in the ACT, it's ACT Health that's dealing with the vaccination for those health workers, but residents of aged care facilities that's being administered by the Commonwealth authorities.

So I assume across the border in New South Wales, where you are that one part of this is being delivered by New South Wales Health and another part by the Commonwealth? I don't know is that right?

MCBAIN: Look, having discussed the issue today with a with a local doctor. He was of the understanding that the vaccine role out was being run by the federal government. His Local Health District had been told the federal government wanted centralised vaccination hubs, and it was being rolled out by them.

And this is the confusing part. I mean, we've gone through the last year receiving different advice from different levels of government and people having to find their way through this quagmire of information. I mean, this should be an easy process, which is clearly communicated to the public and that's not that's not what is happening at present.

And you know, it's going to be hard for our GPs, our nurses, our clinical services team to be listening to, to federal government. When New South Wales Health has also got a bit of an input into it, and all the while, you know - "sorry, we can't get the vaccine down to your location, you're going to have to travel to us." I mean, it just doesn't make sense.

DELANEY: Kristy, thanks very much for joining us today.

MCBAIN: Thanks, Leon.


Media contact: Ian Campbell, phone 0417 482 171