Doorstop Interview – Bankstown – Wednesday 11 August 2021


SUBJECT: 120 people turned away from pop up vaccination clinic due to medical staff shortage

MARK CONDI, CEO OF BANKSTOWN SPORTS CLUB: So here we are at Bankstown Sports Club and as everyone is well aware, we have the vaccination clinic going here, which is fantastic. We have the capacity to do 1,000 jabs a day. At the moment, we haven’t quite reached 500 a day. To get us to 1000 a day, we need two things. One is that we need more resources in terms of people giving out jabs, so we hope that we can get more clinicians here to do that. And two we need the community to step up again and come out and get vaccinated, so we can get our lives back to some normality.

JASON CLARE, MEMBER FOR BLAXLAND: Well, thanks very much, Mark. And thanks again to Bankstown Sports Club for setting up this vaccination clinic here in the heart of Bankstown. This clinic has only been open for about a week, but it’s incredibly popular. Throughout the week, we’ve had long lines of people snaking all around the building keen to get the job. It shows that people are really keen here in Bankstown, to get vaccinated.

The bad news though, is that the other day, we had to turn away 120 people who wanted to get vaccinated and the reason for that is because there wasn’t enough doctors and nurses here to give them the jab. People are keen to get the vaccine here in Bankstown, but we don’t have enough medical staff to give them the jab. That’s crazy. We’ve got to fix this, and we’ve got to fix it fast.

Bankstown is still the epicentre of this crisis. This is where the virus is spreading faster than anywhere else, and where people are getting sick and are dying. People here in Canterbury Bankstown are dangerously exposed at the moment because the vaccination rates here in our local community are lower than much of the rest of the country. It’s obvious from the long lines here that people want to get vaccinated, but people are being turned away because there isn’t enough staff to give them the jab. We’ve got to fix this, and we’ve got to fix it fast.

Some of those people are tradies. Tradies need to get the jab to go back to work. We’ve got tradies here rolling up their sleeves to get back to work, and they’re getting turned away because there isn’t enough staff to give them the jab. That’s crazy. Tradies want to get back to work. We need to make sure that we’ve got the doctors and nurses here to give them the jab.

We also need more “pop up” vaccination clinics just like this. We had the Premier today say that she’s going to look into setting up more “pop up” vaccination clinics here in Western Sydney. That’s good but I’d say to the Premier, ‘Hurry up, we need them now’. The Chief Medical Officer Paul Kelly said on the weekend that we need more “pop up” clinics like this in COVID hotspots. Well, this is the hottest spot in the country at the moment. We need them here and we need them here now. We’ve got this one at Bankstown Sports Club, but we need a lot more.

The Mayor of Canterbury Bankstown wrote to the Federal Government and offered up the Bankstown velodrome for a “pop up” clinic, that was rejected. The Vietnamese community offered up their community hall in Bonnyrigg, that’s been rejected. We’ve got one at the Lakemba Mosque but it’s only open for a couple of days. It was open on Sunday, on Monday and yesterday but it’s not there today. We need to make that permanent. It’s the same story at the Gallipoli Mosque up at Auburn. It provides vaccinations to the community but only every couple of weeks. It’s not open again till next Friday. They’ve got a waiting list of 500. It shows you that there’s demand. That people are desperate to get the jab. But we’ve got to set up more of these “pop up” clinics where people are, where they play, where they pray, where they work, where they study. The easier you make it for people to get the jab, the more people that will get vaccinated here sooner and that’s critical if we want life to get back to normal.

People here in Western Sydney are really struggling at the moment and they’re angry. Western Sydney didn’t cause this nightmare. It was caused because the State Government locked Sydney down too late and because Scott Morrison didn’t buy enough different vaccines. That’s the truth of it, and Western Sydney is paying for those mistakes right now. The only way out of this nightmare is if we get everybody vaccinated and that means we need more doctors and nurses here to give people the jab. We need to set up more “pop up” vaccination clinics just like this right across the community and ultimately, we need more vaccines. That’s what will get us out of this nightmare once and for all. Thanks very much.