The people of New South Wales will remember when Health Minister Brad Hazzard floated the idea of making the unvaccinated pay for their healthcare if they ended up in hospital. That is, presumably, on top of the Medicare levy which everyone pays as part of Australia’s universal healthcare scheme.
‘Whether it is fair that unvaccinated people occupy intensive care beds at a very substantial cost to taxpayers, putting the lives of health staff at risk.’
Hazzard quite rightly found himself as the butt of public outrage.
While he splits hairs over the cost of a few hospital beds, one might ask where the Minister’s outrage is for the $777.8 million in public money wasted by his department on the state’s Covid inventory?
A recent audit on NSW Health has discovered that half – that’s right half – of the state’s PPE equipment stockpile was thrown out in the 2020-21 period.
In 2020, NSW Health proudly announced on its official website that it had centralised the procurement of PPE. It was meant to be a publicity stunt to reassure the panicked public that the state was doing everything in its power to protect people from Covid.
When questioned, a spokesperson for NSW Health explained that the faulty PPE equipment was sourced by a ‘whole of government’ group led by NSW Police with the intention of ‘safeguarding the people of NSW’.
This now appears to include NSW Health haphazardly throwing hundreds of millions of dollars around without much interest in ‘value for money’.
While no one expects government to be streamlined or sensible, burning through three-quarters of a billion dollars tunnels well beneath already low expectations.
Nothing enrages the population more than finding out that while they have been sent broke by Covid health orders – their lives and savings in ruin – the government has shown no respect for taxpayer money.
‘In total, $777.8 million worth of Covid-19 inventory, including personal protective equipment, was either written off or “impaired” – a financial term meaning authorities expected that they wouldn’t use the equipment before it expired,’ wrote James O’Doherty, in a disturbing article for the Daily Telegraph.
The detail of the financial audit performed on NSW Health further revealed that not only did state officials fail at basic stock rotation to ensure that used-by dates were avoided, but that unsuitable, substandard product was ordered. There is no excuse for experts spending $158.8 million ordering unusable masks during a pandemic.
Health officials subjected the public to near-constant press conferences to berate them about correct mask-wearing, so how did masks get ordered and paid for that failed TGA standards? Who is responsible for this failure? If the press are happy to drag the names of ordinary citizens through the headlines for weeks because they committed the crime of buying food while unknowingly sick, when is the NSW Health department going to front up with their sacrificial employees?
NSW Health also threw out hundreds of millions of dollars worth of faulty PPE. A small business would have had a few choice words to say to the supplier and demanded a refund.
Did Brad Hazzard know about his department’s disgusting mismanagement before he decided to threaten unvaccinated Australians about their access to hospital care?
Will taxpayers be told which companies profited from selling faulty equipment to the state?
Is the Minister for Health going to tell us exactly which bureaucrats stuffed up and will they lose their jobs?
And what about the Net Zero Climate Change policies?
Minister for the Environment Matt Kean has been spruiking the Plastics and Circular Economy Act 2021 which bans straws, coffee cups, and other packaging. This joins the NSW Plastics Action Planand the NSW Waste and Sustainable Materials Strategy 2041.
‘This legislation is expected to stop 2.7 billion single-use items from ending up in our natural environment and waterways over the next 20 years and is a game-changer in the fight against plastic waste across the state,’ said Kean.
Globally, 129 billion face masks are thrown away every month – many of them ending up in the ocean. Sydney’s streets, parks, and beaches are littered with masks. The Covid pandemic has been one of the biggest creators of waste on record, and yet the same politicians that want us to eat bugs haven’t said a word.
If none of these questions have answers, perhaps Hazzard could take some responsibility and offer himself up as a peace offering to the people of New South Wales who he has bullied, threatened, and lorded over for the last two years.