Member Statement – COVID19 in Gippsland South

Mr D O’BRIEN (Gippsland South) (09:44): Well, the state government needs a little less conversation and a little more action to lift its game as the number of COVID cases grows across regional Victoria and in Gippsland. We appreciate that things are changing fast and that contact tracers are swamped. However, Gippslanders are wanting to do the right thing and get tested, yet there is little availability of testing locations on weekends and after hours. Several people have contacted me this week indicating a three-day wait for a COVID test in Wellington shire.

I am pleased that Central Gippsland Health has today stood up a drive-through testing site in Sale and more resources are being added to the Wellington Respiratory Clinic. However, contact tracers are behind the local community, with a Sale bakery self-reporting on Monday that a worker who has since tested positive worked at the store last Tuesday. It took until 10.00 pm last night for this bakery to be added to the government exposure site list—a full week after the exposure. While there is pressure on the system, I give a reminder to Gippslanders that they only need to get tested if they are experiencing symptoms, have visited a tier 1 exposure site within the specified times or have been directed to do so by the Department of Health.

Gippslanders have done a magnificent job of obeying the rules of getting tested and isolating when required and, most of all, of getting vaccinated. Most Gippsland shires are now past 95 per cent first dose. While this makes the government’s vaccination mandate that is keeping unvaccinated people out of the economy for another year pointless and vindictive, it is a great credit to the vast majority of Gippslanders. We will have more cases and more illness as we open. The community is ready for it, but after 18 months I am worried that the government has failed to adequately prepare. (Time expired)

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