We might live in a first-rate part of regional Australia but when it comes to some things, we get treated like second-rate citizens.
Having had 18 months to prepare for the worst of the COVID pandemic to hit our area, here we find ourselves turning people away from testing sites day after day in the midst of an outbreak.
We have said this before, many times. Our health service is under-resourced, overworked, and poorly supported and that is at the best of times. We have put up with it for too long. And now, in the middle of our first real COVID outbreak, our health workers face the potential to be completely overwhelmed.
Many people have turned out for testing, waiting hours only to then be turned away and told to return "tomorrow". It's not acceptable, and it's not good enough.
The people of the Border and North East have taken one for the team so many times through this pandemic it's hard to keep count. The North East took one for the team for every Melbourne outbreak, locking down and closing the doors of many businesses as Melbourne cases raged out of control, and not a single case was active in our communities. We took one for the team when NSW shut its border to Victoria over the Melbourne outbreak - and left it shut for weeks after Victoria hit zero cases, like we were some kind of afterthought for the NSW government then.
We then took one for the team again as Sydney's outbreak raged, and we had doses of our vaccines deployed to where they were "needed most". At what point might we expect something in return? We need more testing resources, and we need them here and now. We need support for our health services, and our residents in their efforts yet again to do the right thing because they understand, it protects their community.