02 June 2021

Roughly, 3,549 healthcare workers are employed at the Prince Charles Hospital—and if I could personally thank each and every one of them for their work over the past 18 months I would do that. Being a healthcare worker is no easy job at the very best of times. Not only do their patients rely on them for medical care but they also often rely on them for emotional support as well. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, the Prince Charles Hospital nurses, doctors, administrative staff, cleaners, wardies, orderlies and kitchen staff risked their own health and safety to look after the health and safety of others.

Despite all the dud kicks that they have been given from the federal government around the vaccine rollout, our healthcare workers have been working tirelessly to ensure that Queensland's most at risk workers and vulnerable are getting vaccinated. The Prince Charles Hospital staff have administered more than 5,000 doses to date. That number will grow as the Palaszczuk government steps into the void left by the federal government's incompetence and takes up the task of vaccinating our aged-care workforce. There are more than 460 aged-care facilities across Queensland, and we really do have very little visibility as to how many of those facilities are still waiting for their first dose. Nationally, we know that only 8.7 per cent of aged-care workers have been fully vaccinated. But, thanks to the leadership of Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk and health minister Yvette Maree D'Ath, any aged-care worker, no matter their age, will be able to book a vaccine appointment at any one of the vaccine sites that we currently have in operation across the state.

I would like to take this opportunity to encourage all Northsiders to get the vaccine if you can and when you get the chance. I have had my first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine as a person with a pre-existing health condition. I had it at the Nundah Village Family Practice on Sandgate Road—and, other than a bit of a sore arm, I am doing great. I'll be heading back to get my second dose when it's time. Our Northside community has rallied together to beat COVID-19. We stayed inside when we were asked, we wore masks, we washed our hands and we stayed 1.5 metres apart. If we did all of that then a little jab now is really not that much to ask. Even if you are not eligible for the vaccine right now, you can still register on the Queensland Health website and you will be notified when a local appointment becomes available for you.

This Sunday, 6 June, marks the biggest day in the calendar year. It is Queensland Day. Friends, it is Queensland Day. It is a celebration of Queensland's birthday and marks the state's official, just, meritorious and worthy separation from New South Wales as an independent colony on 6 June 1859. Celebrating the great state of Queensland, the magnificent Tropical North nation, is the perfect way to kick off Origin week, where I am advised by the best in the business that the mighty Maroons look set to absolutely demolish New South Wales at Townsville Stadium on Wednesday night. Mr Speaker, I am sure that, as a Victorian, you will, by default, join with me in cheering on Queensland against New South Wales. We wish the team the very best—against some significant injuries. We wish them all the resilience, all the strength, all the fortitude and all the endurance that the greatest nation in the world, Queensland, possesses. We wish them all the very best on Wednesday night.