Ingham Daily Press

Keeping People Connected

Dametto slams COVID communications

Nick Dametto, Member for Hinchinbrook, in lockdown in Townsville

Nick Dametto, Member for Hinchinbrook has written to the Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk and the Health Minister, slamming the lack of communication regarding what the lockdown means for Townsville.

Mr Dametto said he was frustrated that the Premier continues to make COVID-19 announcements via press conferences and social media, 2000km away in Brisbane. 

“North Queenslanders matter too. On Tuesday Townsville residents, business owners and visitors were all desperate to understand what the lockdown would mean for them.  There was a complete breakdown in communication after a three day lockdown was announced.

“Media outlets just like the rest of us were left scrambling once again while it was near on impossible to get an answer out of anyone who wasn’t based in Brisbane. Until today our local Townsville Hospital and Health Board were gagged and unable to speak. The Premier and Health Minister were MIA for local North Queensland news outlets, instead choosing to focus on Brisbane based media”, Mr Dametto said.

It was up to 8 hours after the Premier’s press conference before much of the COVID-19 QLD website was updated, well after Townsville City had already entered lockdown. The COVID-19 QLD website must be updated simultaneous to the press conference.

“Our Hinchinbrook Electorate Office became a de facto COVID-19 hotline shortly after the press conference went live, as the community could not find sufficient information and clarity on the pending lockdown. It is extremely difficult for our offices to project a clear and concise message if the governments self-proclaimed “centre of truth” website is lagging in up-to-date information.

“North Queenslanders reported the website to be extremely difficult to navigate and interpret what the lockdown means for them with most of this vital information buried with in the South East’s health directives.

“A lock down should not be run like a secret service mission, when we are disrupting with people’s lives and livelihoods. We must have the correct information readily available and on hand, this type of certainty will help reduce panic buying and confusion for everyone. It is completely unacceptable that we are this far into the pandemic and in the digital age and the Government cannot dot their i’s or cross their t’s before announcing new restriction to the public” Mr Dametto said.

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