Here we go again. My coffee shop was eerily quiet on Monday morning and again every day this week. The majority of our state is once again in lockdown and businesses and employees alike, right throughout our region, are affected. Children are once again missing out on their sporting and other healthy and development activities.
These on-again-off-again restrictions will keep happening if we don’t fix our quarantining problems and achieve much higher levels of vaccination. At six per cent of our population, our vaccination levels are hopeless by international comparison.
We need to do better but unfortunately the Federal Government will struggle to make up for past mistakes. The early decision to secure only two vaccines was a poor one we are now all paying a price. AstraZeneca is losing community confidence and fewer of us, including me, are able to receive it. My own appointment to receive AstraZeneca was cancelled just three days before due. Like so many others, I’m now on the hunt for an appointment to receive the Pfizer jab and it’s not proving easy. This is the story for millions of Australians.
Throughout the COVID-19 crisis we’ve fared better than most countries. Government can take a lot of credit for that, as can the majority of Australians who have played a big role by doing the right thing. But as they say, you’re only as good as your last game and Federal Government is now letting us down. Gladys Berejiklian has also played mostly well but many experts believe the Premier erred in not imposing a short lockdown earlier this month. I suspect they are right. No doubt Gladys was keen to maintain her reputation as the “no lockdowns” state leader but we are all now paying a price.
I appeal to our community to do their best to secure a vaccination as quickly as is possible, and to follow the rules set by the NSW Government at this time. I also ask people to be more patient and tolerant. I continue to hear stories about frontline workers being abused by frustrated and angry people. This is even occurring in the surgeries of our GPs and it’s more than disappointing. The teams which support our GPs do not make the rules and can only do what governments are providing them with the capacity to do. They are supporting us, let’s give them more support. Stay safe.
We continue to meet with success in securing funding for some of our key local highway projects. The NSW Budget confirmed progress – albeit too slowly – on the Singleton Bypass, the Muswellbrook Bypass, and the New England Highway/Golden Highway intersection.
Contrary to the doom and gloom predictions of some activists, our coal mining industry is growing and upgrading our infrastructure only grows more important with that growth. Imagine our Valley without the Hunter Expressway and the third dedicated rail line which takes our increasing volumes of coal to port more quickly and efficiently. It would be in gridlock. There is plenty more work to be done.