Liberal Nationals’ Back to Work plan adopted – funding for Australian Institute of Infectious Disease

The Liberal Nationals support the Labor Government’s announcement of the establishment of an Australian Institute of Infectious Disease

With Daniel Andrews’ hotel quarantine failures leading to Victoria’s second wave, it’s fundamental we incorporate best practice into our response to COVID-19 and future infectious disease challenges.

The Liberal Nationals’ plan to get Victoria Back to Work and Back in Business, released 1 November, called for additional support for infectious disease research. We are pleased to see Labor’s recognition of those ideas with today’s announcement.

The Liberal Nationals plan called for additional funding to “guarantee best practice in confronting this and future pandemics” and for the establishment of a “committee of experts… to monitor all major global and local health threats”.

However, the fact that the Andrews Labor Government is only partly funding the establishment of this new Institute, choosing to ask the Morrison Federal Government for around half of the cost is yet another example of how, if it were not for the billions wasted in cost overruns and budget mismanagement, Andrews would have ample cash to fully deliver this commitment.

The new institute will train healthcare workers and may help prevent a repeat of the disastrously high levels of healthcare worker infections experienced during Labor’s second wave. Every Victorian has a right to be safe at work, however, a breakdown in infection controls led to 3,574 health care workers being infected with COVID-19, 73% of which were infections acquired in the workplace.

There’s no doubt that Victoria’s world-class biomedical sector will benefit from this new Institute of Infectious Disease. But most importantly so will Victorians. The new Institute, once established, will deliver confidence that the Victorian Government will learn from its second wave failures and incorporate best practice into its response to the current ongoing pandemic and any future pandemics.

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