Topics: Victorian outbreak; Victorian aged care outbreak; AUSMAT, QLD border closure to Sydney; Queensland teenagers.
The Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt is on the line. Good morning to you, Minister.
Good morning, Ben.
Has Victoria lost control?
Look, it is a very serious outbreak and this is why, months and months ago when we’d made difficult decisions – whether it was around closing the border with China or with other countries, closing Australia off from the world – it was because we recognised the deadly and highly contagious nature of this disease.
Seven out of eight states and territories, they’re doing incredibly well – New South Wales is fighting off what is an immense challenge.
Victoria has a massive task and we’ve stepped in, we’re helping them, but we know that it comes with an immense human cost once this disease is out in the community in a significant way.
Because those private aged care facilities are run by the Commonwealth, the Premier Daniel Andrews was trying to throw the Commonwealth under the bus in the last 48 hours – that was a bit rich.
I think what we’ve seen now is Victoria has very much recognised that this is a challenge for everybody.
They have, at our request, made sure that the hospital places are available for every aged care resident that needs support with their health and medical conditions and safety.
They have been working with what we’ve set up as part of our absolutely critical response plan, which is the Response Centre in Victoria.
They’ve been working with us to make sure there’s a transition plan and a transfer plan for every aged care centre and that, I think, is extremely important.
We are bringing in AUSMAT – AUSMAT is the SAS of medical assistance from around Australia – as we’ve done with the bushfires in New South Wales, we’ve done in North West Tasmania when they had an outbreak.
And we’re working to make sure that we have other states provide resources. So, we’re stepping in as a country to help one state which is facing a profound challenge.
Just a couple of quick comments – because I’ve got the news looming. Queensland has shut the border to Sydney – fair enough?
Well, that’s not the advice of the Medical Expert Panel.
So it’s a decision of the Premier, I’ll let the Queensland Premier explain – but it hasn’t been the advice of the National Medical Expert Panel.
What would you say to the two teenagers who lied about being in Melbourne and then flew into Queensland?
Well, every one of us, every one of us, as we’ve seen from the outbreak in Victoria, can save a life or risk lives with our actions.
And to people who are not following those rules; they’re not games.
These are literally decisions which can have catastrophic consequences for elderly Australians if individuals don’t follow these rules which are about taking care of each other.
Australians are doing a magnificent job – some individuals can put all of that at risk.
We appreciate your time this morning as always, Minister. Thanks so much.
Thanks, Ben. Take care.
Greg Hunt calling in, the Federal Health Minister.