Canberra Report - This lockdown is different - Wednesday, 11 August 2021

Canberra Report - This lockdown is different - Wednesday, 11 August 2021 Main Image

By Joel Fitzgibbon

11 August 2021

My office remains awash with people who are hurting and struggling. People are understandably worried and confused.  During last year’s lockdown, most remained confident that they were in good hands. Support for government responses remained strong.

This lockdown is different. Confidence in government has largely collapsed and that is impacting on our collective state-of-mind.  Uneasiness about the present breeds pessimism about the future. 

We should not be without sympathy for our government leaders. Everyone is doing their best. Financial support programs have been substantial and in the main, access has not been too difficult.

But it is also true that too many mistakes have been made – in quarantine, in vaccination and the timeliness of lockdowns. Between January 2020 and the arrival of Delta, we had plenty of time to build fit-for-purpose quarantine facilities. More vaccines and more vaccine options could have and should have been available. We surely should have learned that the most effective lockdowns are those which are immediate, comprehensive and short-lived.  

These mistakes are well known to those me and my team speak with each day. They are also confused about the lockdown rules.

Few business operators call us, most are more than capable of navigating the challenges and comprehending the assistance paperwork. But they are hurting, very badly. Yet when I speak with them, they are impressively stoic. Inspirationally so.

I’m reluctant to say it because the phrase long ago ceased to sound like anything other than a cliché but we will get through this pandemic.