MEDIA RELEASE - Ebola Crisis

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THE HON TANYA PLIBERSEK MP

DEPUTY LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION

SHADOW MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS

AND INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT

MEMBER FOR SYDNEY

 

THE HON CATHERINE KING MP

SHADOW MINISTER FOR HEALTH
MEMBER FOR BALLARAT

 

MEDIA RELEASE

EBOLA CRISIS

 

WEDNESDAY, 1 OCTOBER 2014

In Question Time today, the Abbott Government again refused to offer support for skilled, experienced Australians willing and able to fight the Ebola crisis in West Africa.

This is despite Australia co-sponsoring a unanimous UN Security Council resolution calling on all nations to:

” …facilitate the delivery of assistance, including qualified, specialized and trained personnel and supplies, in response to the Ebola outbreak…”. 

UNSC resolution 2177

18 September 2014

The resolution was co-sponsored by a record 131 countries.

Labor supports the Government’s $8 million financial contribution to help tackle this crisis.  But the rapidly escalating situation demands Australia go further and support specialised personnel who wish to help fight the spread of Ebola.

The United States and the UK have already committed medical teams to the region.

Government claims that Australia cannot care for medical personnel sent to West Africa ignore the fact around a dozen Australian volunteers are already on the ground there dealing with the Ebola crisis.

If required, the Australian Government should negotiate with our international partners to ensure appropriate standby management arrangements for any Australian personnel.

Failure to act now will have incredibly serious consequences.

Of the around 6,500 Ebola cases so far, more than 3,000 people have died.  If we don’t do more, some predictions suggest the number of Ebola cases could reach 1.4 million by 2015.

It also puts international peace and security at risk.

Today, the first case of Ebola in the United States was diagnosed.

If the international community pulls together, the Ebola outbreak may be possible to contain.  But the window of opportunity is closing fast.  That’s why Australia must significantly increase its efforts, immediately.

Urgent calls for assistance have come from across the world:

US President Barack Obama:

“We are not moving fast enough.  We are not doing enough.  Right now, everybody has the best of intentions, but people are not putting in the kinds of resources that are necessary to put a stop to this epidemic. 

 

“More nations need to contribute critical assets and capabilities -- whether it is air transport, or medical evacuation, or health care workers, or equipment, or treatment.” 

UN High-Level meeting on Ebola

18 September 2014

 

Médecins Sans Frontières:

“We have been very clear with the government that we are not asking for financial support. We are asking the government to evaluate Australia’s emergency medical capacity and mobilise it on the ground in West Africa.”

MSF Australian executive director Paul McPhun

18 September 2014

 

Australian Medical Association:

“We are witnessing a humanitarian and public health crisis of the highest order.

“The Australian Government can and must do more – much more.

“The AMA is calling on the Government to urgently coordinate the recruitment and deployment of volunteer doctors and other health professionals to West Africa, and provide ongoing practical support such as protective and medical equipment and supplies, transport and accommodation.”

AMA President Brian Owler

18 September 2014

 

 


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