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COVID-19 Emergency

Dr Rosalie Woodruff MP

Dr Rosalie Woodruff MP  -  Wednesday, 24 June 2020

Tags: COVID-19

Dr WOODRUFF (Franklin) - Mr Deputy Speaker, since we spoke only a fortnight ago in the last COVID-19 MPI in this place, things have changed dramatically across the globe when it comes to this pandemic. We are seeing a rapid uptick day by day in the number of coronavirus cases that are being reported worldwide.

I believe there were 136 000 cases reported yesterday. I read a statistic yesterday which said that in the first three months of the coronavirus epidemic, a pandemic worldwide, it took three months to get to the first 1 million cases worldwide, and that figure has been reached worldwide again in the last week. In other words, in the last week, 1 million cases have been reported worldwide. This should tell us very clearly that this is not a short-lived pandemic.

We are seeing dramatic pressures across the world and it underscores why Australia is right to maintain its international border restrictions. The situation within Australia also demonstrates that things continue to change and it is a virus that we cannot take for granted. We are right to have the border restrictions that we have in Tasmania today. That is the advice of the Public Health experts who have guided us, as a state, the best that they can, through this pandemic so far. Despite the terrible experiences for everyone involved in the north-west outbreak, we have managed to scrape through with far fewer lives lost and overall many fewer sacrifices than countries like Brazil, the United States, the United Kingdom, and other countries are experiencing today.

We cannot underscore the sacrifices that have been made and that people are experiencing in Tasmania, and the conversations Australia wide and in Tasmania make it really clear that we have difficult waters ahead of us. It is not an easy sea to navigate and there are no stars to guide us; we have to be constantly alert to the conditions and they change day by day.

It is a mistake to think that we can set a course today for a site that we want to get to in six months or a year's time. It is a mistake because we are not in control of this virus unless every person in Tasmania stays in their house, and we continue to have Zoom meetings between now and when a vaccine is achieved, and we have pretty much shut down all businesses. We will have to continue to adapt and be very nimble with our public health response, our contract tracing, testing, the support, the continual and unrelenting support for Public Health staff, the continual and unrelenting resourcing of the public health system in order to make sure that we are able to keep an eye on any small outbreaks or case numbers that are reported.

In that context, we have a very fragile community in Tasmania, in Australia, and worldwide. This community in Tasmania has been bounded by trust. We have weathered - and continue to weather - difficult circumstances because of the trust that has been built up around the fact that the Government has listened to the Public Health advice and has taken that.

In that context, the Greens on behalf of many people in the community are truly distressed that the Government is peddling a mistruth that we need to have major projects legislation in order to have a COVID-19 economic recovery. It is a lie. We do not need that legislation. It is unnecessary. It has no purpose. There are other legislative measures that exist. It is really wrong and destabilising for this premier to seek to threaten the status he has achieved by trying to introduce that noxious and unnecessary bill.

It is a bill which is utterly divisive at its core. It is an election promise that the Liberals made in 2014 to the Property Council. It fulfils their commitments to the richest corporate donors, to the dodgy property developers, to the foreign investors, to the people who would seek to trash our wilderness, to the people who would seek to stomp over communities across this state to make private gain, to make personal gain, to take public land to trash a place like kunanyi for a mate of a previous environment minister, Matthew Groom. Deals done, mates talked to. This bill is nothing other than a fast track for dodgy development because if it was anything other than that it would just go through the process like all other developments do in Tasmania. It would go through council.

This has been written to shut up the community, to keep people quiet and it is really wrong. It is a black stain on this Premier that at this time he allows a minister like Mr Jaensch, the Planning minister for so-called planning, to try to pretend that communities that stand up with concerns about the major projects bill are in some manner going against the state and it is a shame on him.