COVID-19 vaccination rollout
We are still winning, but we have not yet won the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.
Many readers would be aware of a confirmed case of COVID-19 travelling through Nyngan, Broken Hill and Orange at the beginning of January, and once again, I urge everyone to remain vigilant and monitor the latest information at www.nsw.gov.au/covid-19/latest-news-and-updates
Last week, the Prime Minister provided an update to the Australian public on the COVID-19 vaccination rollout strategy.
The vaccination is a key component of how we’re dealing with the pandemic here in Australia, and the Prime Minister reassured the public that officials have been moving swiftly and safely to introduce the vaccine as soon as is safely possible.
In my view, we will not defeat the virus in Australia unless we have an extremely high rate of vaccination.
The Prime Minister is confident vaccinations of high priority groups will be able to commence in mid to late February. This will remain conditional: most importantly, on final TGA approval and the delivery of the vaccine from suppliers. The vaccine is a two-shot process which needs to be managed, particularly for priority populations.
There will be five phases of priority populations over the course of 2021 to administer the vaccine: both the Pfizer vaccine and the AZ vaccine. Populations in the first phase are quarantine and border workers, front line health officials, those working in aged care and disability care, and those in aged care, and disability care residents.
Worth noting is the fact that vaccination is not a silver bullet. Once the vaccination starts, COVIDSafe practices do not end – they will continue.
To everyone in the Parkes electorate, thank you all for continuing to do the right thing.
Boosting our diesel storage
The Government is taking action to increase Australia’s onshore diesel stockholdings, create jobs and keep fuel prices low for consumers, with the Boosting Australia’s Diesel Storage program open for applications from this week.
The Government will provide up to $200 million in competitive grants over three years to support the construction of an additional 780 megalitres of onshore diesel storage.
Projects will be targeted that enhance fuel security by being in a strategic regional location or are connected to existing fuel infrastructure.
Our fuel security is essential for Australia’s national security and underpins our entire economy, creating new jobs and protecting workers in fuel-dependent industries such as manufacturing, resources, agriculture and transport.
The diesel program will help to make sure Australian families and businesses can access the fuel they need, when they need it.
To view the program guidelines and to apply visit: business.gov.au/badsp. Applications will close on 22 February.
Free trade agreements deliver benefits
Starting this month, Australian farmers and businesses will benefit from more tariff cuts delivered by our network of free trade agreements.
Further cuts to Canadian tariffs this year will assist Australian fresh or chilled beef exporters. The value of these exports to Canada increased by 92 per cent to reach $33 million in 2019-20.
Tariff reductions on our sheep and goat meat exports under our bilateral free trade agreement with Korea helped increase those exports by eight per cent, to reach $169 million in 2019-20. Tariffs on these products will now be cut from 6.7 to 4.5 per cent.
Australia is a trading nation and the products we export are high quality and in demand globally. Reducing trade barriers will boost export opportunities for our farmers and businesses in key export markets which translates to more jobs and economic growth in the Parkes electorate and further afield.