Barton MP Linda Burney has made a fiery speech in parliament after being inundated with phone calls and emails from people in her electorate complaining about the federal government's handling of the COVID pandemic.
She said it was galling that Liberal Party MPs accused the Opposition of playing 'petty politics' when pleading for better communication from the federal government.
"You come and tell the people who live in Georges River council and come and tell the people who live in Canterbury Bankstown that this is petty politics," she said.
"My office has been inundated with residents, business owners, workers and householders. They are anxious, fearful, upset, and, in many instances, they're confused.
"They are finding it almost impossible to get the answers that they need. They are good people from very many different cultural backgrounds, as people would know.
"Sydney is in the grip of a terrible, terrible situation. People in the electorate that I represent are asking the government and this Prime Minister: 'Why do you always wait until something goes wrong before you take action? We saw that happen in the bushfires, of course."
Ms Burney says the Prime Minister did not take the pandemic seriously at first and it appears he continues to underestimate its impact.
"The Prime Minister didn't take the pandemic seriously. While medical experts, state and territory governments and Labor were calling for a national response, the Prime Minister was still attending football games," she said.
"But, as the lines formed around Centrelink right across this country, there was the realisation: 'Oh, there might be a problem.' Well, let me tell you: there is a problem. We are now 18 months into this pandemic. We still do not have a national quarantine system-18 months. The prime minister is only considering incentives and other ways to accelerate the rollout.
"I hear the members of the government saying that the vaccine rollout is on track. Well, come and tell the people of Georges River and Canterbury Bankstown that things are on track. They are losing loved ones and they are being hospitalised. The Prime Minister is always playing catch-up. He never takes responsibility and just does enough to say, 'I'm a man of action.'"
Prime Minister Scott Morrison claims his government does have a plan to move forward with Australia's COVID response.
"The National Plan provides a graduated pathway to transition Australia's COVID-19 response from its current pre-vaccination settings focused on continued suppression of community transmission, to post-vaccination settings focused on public health management of COVID-19 is consistent with other infectious diseases," he said.
"The National Plan will move between phases once Australia reaches key vaccination thresholds - moving to Phase B once 70 per cent of the Australian population 16 years of age and older are fully vaccinated and Phase C once 80 per cent fully vaccinated threshold is met.
"More than 21.3 per cent of Australians aged 16 years and over are now fully vaccinated including more than 30.2 per cent of over 50-year-old's and more than 45.8 per cent of Australians over 70 years of age."
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