Mr RAMSEY (Grey—Government Whip) (11:00): I was very pleased with the news late yesterday afternoon that the state government in South Australia has now set an open-up day of 23 November, when we are expected to reach the target of 80 per cent fully vaccinated, for those over the age of 16. We’re currently at 63.1 per cent, with 79.6 per cent first-dose vaccinated, and we can pretty easily extrapolate that we’re a little over three weeks from first dose to second dose, with not many people using AstraZeneca at this stage. That’s a little disappointing in a way. I think New South Wales has reached the point of 85 per cent fully vaccinated, so in reality South Australia is about six weeks behind. I think this is probably the penalty of success. It could easily be argued that because we haven’t had the chronic outbreaks of coronavirus in South Australia we’ve been a little less desperate to get vaccinated. In fact, there are no new cases as of yesterday. There are two active cases, and both of those came in on aircraft, as far as I know. We have zero community transmission. We’ve had 918 cases in total, for the whole pandemic, and just four people have succumbed, and that was in the early days. It is clearly an outstanding result.
On 23 November borders will open and those who are fully vaccinated—and this remains an incentive for those people who are not fully vaccinated or not vaccinated at all to get on the bandwagon—will be allowed to come into South Australia without isolating, unless they are from an LGA that has less than 80 per cent vaccination or from one that is a hotspot. I’m looking forward to that. I will be in isolation by tomorrow night, but the next time I come to Canberra I’ll hopefully be able to go home and not isolate.
I want to dwell a little bit on the national scene. There has been a lot of criticism of the government’s vaccination program. At various times it has been described—by those opposite, those in the press and others—as bungled, botched, failed and a shambles. I look back and see that it was Greg Hunt who first said, in November last year, that we’ll have Australia vaccinated by the end of October. Well, if we miss the end-of-October target, we’ll have only missed it by that much! In fact, despite all the rubbish that was piled up on the government—the other side of politics actually put barriers in the way and destroyed confidence in the AstraZeneca vaccine—we have met that target.