By Bruce Piper
It’s possible I may have spoken just a little too soon when in last month’s travelBulletin I prognosticated an earlier than anticipated end to the pandemic!
As everyone in the industry will testify, it’s been a tough few weeks since then and on some days it’s no wonder that many of us are feeling down.
Feelings of frustration have been exacerbated by stupid moves by some political leaders — most recently in the Northern Territory and Queensland where bureaucratic bungling has betrayed just how little officials realise the impact their decisions have on the public.
A blanket ruling by the NT’s Chief Medical Officer laying out principles for a resumption of cruising in Territory waters by all accounts completely blindsided operators in advanced stages of preparation for the upcoming Kimberley cruise season, limiting ships to a maximum of just 100 on board including all crew and passengers.
The decision, which ran counter to multiple earlier assurances, struck a blow at the confidence of the industry and I must confess to having been personally rocked at yet another knock-back for the struggling cruise sector.
That was followed a few days later by an outbreak in Queensland, where Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk predictably shut down Greater Brisbane in a snap three-day lockdown. This decision was unfortunately necessary — because the Qld Government appears to have no firm system for contact tracing in place, and thus when an infection occurs they have to use a hammer to crack a walnut. And as many of our readers have noted, the outbreak — via an unvaccinated doctor working in a COVID-19 ward! — appears to have been eminently avoidable.
In other states such as NSW it’s impossible to even go to the hardware store without using a Government-supplied app to check in and out. Why on earth can’t we have a national system of contact tracing? Why are we relying on clearly challenged State health departments to manage the vaccine rollout?
As PM Scott Morrison has noted multiple times over the last year, we are in a COVID-19emergency. It’s about time he started acting like it and wielded some strong leadership to get us out of this situation.