Health Education | January 14, 2022

Labor snubs support for Lowan children

Member for Lowan Emma Kealy has lashed the Andrews Labor Government for ignoring rural and regional western Victoria communities with its plans for pop-up COVID vaccination clinics in schools.

The government announced this week it would establish 30 clinics at primary schools across the state for families seeking a COVID vaccination for children aged 5 to 11.

However none of the 30 sites are in Wimmera, southern Mallee or western district communities.

Ms Kealy said it proved once again that Labor was only worried about governing for the city.

“Our local vaccination centres continue to do a great job, but after two years of lockdowns and remote schooling, some parents simply have no leave left to take their kids to a vaccination appointment,” she said.

“There are also some children, especially those with special needs, who find it overwhelming to be in a crowded and unfamiliar vaccination centre, and would be much more comfortable in a quiet area of their school where they feel safe.

“Labor and independent Upper House MPs in Western Victoria have failed to stand up for our region, and must remember that they were elected to represent Victorians who live in country Victoria too, not just the city.

“The demand for vaccinations among the 5-11 age group is high, and the government should be doing all it can to help people who wish for their children to be vaccinated to access an appointment.”

Ms Kealy said the Premier continued to refuse to rule out mandatory vaccinations for school-aged children, or rule out a return to remote learning in 2022.

“When it comes to our children, the government can’t just make it up as they go. Victoria needs a plan to ensure schools can remain open safely so that our children don’t miss another second of face-to-face learning,” she said.

“That is why a Matthew Guy Liberal Nationals Government will implement a 5-step plan that will provide:

  1. A guarantee that schools will not be locked down.
  2. Easily available free rapid antigen tests for all students and staff.
  3. Air purifiers for all classrooms.
  4. Easy to understand test-to-stay protocols.
  5. A plan to manage staff shortages and ensure continuity of learning.

“Closing our schools is not the answer. COVID is unpredictable, but that’s no excuse to not be prepared.

“Our plan will keep schools open safely irrespective of any current or future variants.”

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