Thank you to local governments around the nation who have pulled out all the stops to aid the national COVID recovery process, including repeatedly offering to support the vaccination rollout.
Given councils have been providing community immunisation services for decades, state and territory health agencies ought to have snapped up offers of local government facilities and expertise.
ALGA made similar proposals to the Commonwealth on your behalf, recognising that while the states provide health services, the money and therefore the leadership flows from Canberra.
In the main, our suggestions have been overlooked. Now our two biggest cities are again in lockdown.
The Delta variant of COVID-19 that has led to the lockdowns is more highly infectious than the original virus, granted.
But had more Australians been vaccinated, further lockdowns might not have been needed.
That was the point of our wanting to support mass vaccination efforts – community resistance has to be built up so job-creation and economic recovery efforts are not continually held hostage.
If there is a silver lining to this misstep in governance and administration, it is that it has underlined the folly of not having local government in the National Cabinet.
State and federal leaders did not have the benefit of hearing from those closest to their communities when the vaccine rollout was being discussed.
Council facilities, resources, and local knowledge were not therefore incorporated into the planning – with predictable results.
ALGA’s campaign to reverse the National Cabinet decision denying representation to local government has been given fresh urgency.
I hope many of you will remind our federal and state MPs of that if you get the chance.