Collaboration has been the key to stabilising the COVID-19 outbreak in western NSW, according to Member for the Dubbo electorate Dugald Saunders.
The situation looked dire on Friday the 13th (August), as the region’s health authorities forecast exponential growth of COVID-19 cases in the Dubbo region and some of our remote far-west communities.
But the local emergency management committees sprang into action, combining state government agencies like police and health with local councils, Aboriginal Land Councils and other non-government organisations. The Australian Defence Force was also mobilised to help accelerate the vaccine rollout, with their entire program coordinated from the NSW Rural Fire Service Training Academy in the Dubbo.
Mr Saunders said he has never before this level of collaboration between local, state and federal government agencies, as well as the non-government and private sectors, to tackle a problem.
“Perhaps that’s because we have never faced a problem like COVID-19,” he said.
“I’m extremely proud and grateful for the way the people of the Dubbo electorate have pulled together to get the job done – from the top brass who have led our response, right down to every individual who stayed home, got tested and got vaccinated.
“We’re certainly not out of the woods yet, but I have no doubt that our region would be in a far worse position, and more lives would have been lost, had we not united and worked together the way we have.”
The NSW RFS Training Academy, delivered in 2019 as part of a $23.8 million investment by the NSW Government, has earned praise from all agencies involved.
“This facility was always designed to be able to be used in an emergency response – albeit I’m not sure a global pandemic was what we had in mind,” Mr Saunders said.
“Come fire or flood, this facility is an incredibly valuable asset for our region.”