Northern Victoria needs more vaccination hubs and rapid business help

Tania Maxwell MP says Northeast Health Wangaratta’s public vaccination hub opening tomorrow will give North East residents more opportunity to be immunised against COVID-19.

The Derryn Hinch’s Justice Party Member for Northern Victoria said she was concerned when Victorians were last week placed in statewide-lockdown for a fourth time that only three public vaccination hubs across her 100,500-square kilometre electorate – in Wodonga, Shepparton and Bendigo – were listed as open on Victoria’s official coronavirus website[1].

“With Northeast Health Wangaratta opening tomorrow, Albury Wodonga Health re-opening its Wodonga High Street walk-in hub and Swan Hill open as a Bendigo sub-hub, there will now be six public vaccination centres available, together with private GP clinics,” Ms Maxwell said.

“These are welcome additions but we still don’t have enough public hubs across this vast region and I think it’s extraordinary that larger regional communities like Mildura and Echuca don’t have public hubs.

“At the same time, I remain very concerned that people trying to follow the government’s advice and book an appointment at one of these public hubs using the official 1800 number have found it very difficult to get through since lockdown began on Thursday night.

“Surely it must be straightforward for the government to set up an online booking system which gathers your name, contact points, location and Medicare number and then generates an appointment time at the nearest hub that’s sent as a text message to your smartphone or email.”

Ms Maxwell also said business owners and managers had been frustrated by government delays in getting detailed information about its business support package, announced on Sunday, and eligibility criteria, published on-line.

“As I said on Friday, the government and its agencies should by now have a workable ready-reckoner in place so an affected business can calculate with confidence the financial support it can expect when a sudden ‘circuitbreaker’ forces a trading shutdown,” she said.

“Businesses have just 21 days from tomorrow to apply for payments of $2500 or, if a licensed hotel or restaurant, $3500.”


[1] https://www.coronavirus.vic.gov.au/vaccination-centres