MEMBERS STATEMENT | COVID-19

Mr Melhem: I rise to speak on the government response to COVID-19. Around the world we are witnessing the disastrous impact of complacency, cover-ups and incompetence. We are seeing public health systems completely overwhelmed and unemployment levels like those of the Great Depression. We see what happens when states do not listen to science, when we do not act on the advice of medical professionals, and what happens when leaders practice poor public health. It is tragic, it is unacceptable and it is avoidable.

Australia is not like the rest of the world. This is not because we are the lucky country, it is because we listened to the medical advice and we acted. We have had to make sacrifices, we have had to change the ways in which we live, but those measures are saving lives. In Victoria we are experiencing some of the lowest case numbers in the world. We know this because we have conducted more than 526 000 tests, putting us amongst the highest per capita testers in the world. These tests have given us an indication of how Victoria is coping with the virus and have allowed us to set a time line for the easing of restrictions.

I wish to thank every Victorian for how they have acted in this crisis, both those on the front line and those staying home. Victorians have adhered to medical advice and not succumbed to prejudiced paranoia. As we begin to move forward with COVID-19, I congratulate the government on the $2.7 billion worth of injections. I wish to conclude by congratulating and commending the Premier, Daniel Andrews, and the whole of government for the way they have handled this crisis.