Regional Queensland is J-Lo to South-East’s Ben Affleck

Member for Keppel Brittany Lauga receiving her Covid-19 vaccination.

OPINION By the Member for Keppel and Assistant Education Minister Brittany Lauga

All of a sudden the people of South East Queensland care about what’s happening in regional Queensland, just as Ben Affleck has reignited his passion for Jennifer Lopez.

Just like Ben Affleck woke up to the importance of J-Lo in his life, so too has South-East Queensland when it comes to the importance of regional Queensland in the delivery of a Covid-safe Queensland economy.

As a result of slow vaccination uptake in regional Queensland, the metro areas are finally realising that there are millions of Queenslanders who live outside of SEQ and they need them to get vaccinated.

Regional Queensland is seeing slower growth than metropolitan areas of the State in the vaccine rollout.

Less than 50% of Central Queenslanders have had their first jab, compared with almost 60% of Brisbane, Sunshine Coast, Redlands and Noosa residents.

Regional Queensland makes up 47.7% of the State’s population and yet most parts of regional Queensland have less than 50% of first jabs completed.

When only 35.81% of the entire state is fully vaccinated, Queensland needs its regional brothers and sisters to step up to get vaccinated.

I can highlight the surging numbers of vaccinations in metropolitan areas compared to regional Queensland.

Brisbane is at almost 60%, so too is the Sunshine Coast, Redlands and Noosa has already hit the mark.

When you get to CQ, we are at below 50% still.

We shouldn’t just matter to Brisbane, Noosa and the Gold Coast when we need our vaccination numbers to look better.

Our regions need health care, infrastructure and jobs outside of a global pandemic.

The Federal Government needs to rapidly increase supplies of vaccinations in regional Queensland, have an open and transparent conversation with regional Queenslanders about the vaccines available and not just assume everyone will get the jab because they are in metro areas.

Our region’s vaccination rates are good, but they’re not where they need to be.

Scott Morrison had two jobs this year: roll out the vaccine to all Australians and deliver a quarantine system, but he’s failed at both.

Central Queenslanders can find out more information and how to book an appointment visiting: https://www.qld.gov.au/health/conditions/health-alerts/coronavirus-covid-19/protect-yourself-others/covid-19-vaccine/book

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