The Queensland government has offered to step in amid concern private aged care homes are not coping with ongoing COVID-19 outbreaks.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk plans to raise the issue with prime minister Scott Morrison at national cabinet on Thursday, following an announcement defence personnel will be available to help.
“These are Queenslanders and they are Australians,” the premier said on Thursday.
“We want the best, so if we need to step in and do anything further to help out we will.”
The premier’s stance follows anger from the families of relatives inside Jeta Gardens aged care facility south of Brisbane over the handling of COVID-19, culminating in a heated town hall meeting on Tuesday.
There were claims of being lied to by management after the facility recorded 15 deaths linked to COVID-19 since an outbreak that began in December.
It prompted state senator Murray Watt to weigh in, labelling the residents as “sitting ducks” in federal parliament, with some of the residents still yet to receive their vaccinations.
Inconsistencies with messaging will be at the forefront of discussions in national cabinet, the premier said.
“We need to have the facts on the table as to how many people have actually had their boosters and how many of the staff have had their booster,” she told reporters.
“I’m happy to do whatever we can to assist, but it needs to work the other way as well. And I think the federal government needs to tell us where the defence forces are going, and let’s work on this together.
“Not only do we have the people who are living in aged care that have COVID, but it’s the staff as well.
“It’s the staff not being able to provide the care that I think is the central issue here.”
Health Minister Yvette D’Ath says additional PPE is being delivered to aged care facilities and the state is happy to do more, but the sector was ultimately the responsibility of the Commonwealth.
“”We are doing what we can,” she said on Wednesday.
“But we do not have the authority to just walk into any private residential aged care and take control.
“The Commonwealth regulates, funds and…is the one responsible.”