Fairfield Matters with Guy Zangari: Putting COVID-19 into perspective

Waiting to be tested: Fairfield MP Guy Zangari.

Waiting to be tested: Fairfield MP Guy Zangari.

There has been a raging debate in our community which started on Friday over the comments made by Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk when she announced her Government considered Fairfield as a COVID-19 hotspot. As a result, residents from the Fairfield Local Government Area cannot quarantine in Queensland and will be subsequently turned away at the New South Wales/Queensland border if they attempt to travel there.

During the day I was approached by several Sydney media outlets regarding these comments made by Premier Palaszczuk. I made it very clear that the Premier from another State had identified growing case numbers and clusters in South West Sydney and had taken appropriate action to protect her community.

In light of growing numbers of COVID-19 in our local area, I questioned the NSW Premier about what she was doing to protect people in Fairfield. Over the past few weeks the NSW Labor Opposition has consistently called on the NSW Liberals/Nationals Government for more COVID-19 testing support and resources in South West Sydney, as well as clearer messaging and information for our culturally diverse community.

Following the COVID-19 cluster outbreak linked to the Thai Rock Restaurant at Wetherill Park, the NSW Berejiklian/Barilaro Government has been slow to act to assist the community in this most recent outbreak. Despite growing case numbers in the Fairfield area, there is still no pop up clinic in Wetherill Park where the cluster has been sourced back to.

The same day the Queensland Government enacted a travel ban for those in the Fairfield LGA, over 3000 students, 400 teachers and thousands of family members were officially informed by the Catholic Education Office that a number of students attending Cerdon College Merrylands, Mary Immaculate Catholic Primary Bossley Park and Freeman Catholic College Bonnyrigg Heights had tested positive for COVID-19. This announcement was met with much anxiety by members of the respective school communities and for them, the morning's debate about Premier Palaszczuk's comments faded into insignificance as their focus immediately turned to the health and well being of these school communities.

In spite of these new cases in schools, and the calls for increased testing in an attempt to contain the continued spread of this virus, no extra resources were allocated or support given to the thousands of community members seeking to get tested over the weekend in the Fairfield and surrounding local government areas.

As a parent of students from one of the impacted schools, my family of six took the precaution of getting tested for COVID-19. Along with many other families, we waited for an extraordinary long wait time to get tested. Once again the Government were caught napping in the middle of the pandemic. Surely outbreaks in three schools in one region should have seen the allocation of additional resources and pop-up clinics to cater to the increased demand for testing. Sadly, this wasn't the case for thousands of families who were forced to wait for hours. This Government should have addressed the increased need for testing and acted accordingly. Our community deserves better than this.

On behalf of the community, I send our thoughts and best wishes to everyone dealing with the coronavirus. I am sure you will join me in wishing all those impacted a speedy recovery. As a community, let's all do our part to stop the spread of this virus that has caused so much pain and anguish in this world.