New South Wales Premier Dominic Perrottet has made extraordinary comments about the state’s pandemic management which has left people questioning the validity of New South Wales health orders and similar orders in other states.
During the Premier’s comments, he admitted that the return of the QR code check-in system for New South Wales had ‘no utility’ and ‘no science’ because no one in the government was using the data to track-and-trace. According to Perrottet, the health order was implemented purely to ‘instil confidence’ to get people to go out.
Also thrown into question was the expensive acquisition of RAT tests for school children – objected to by NSW Health and the government, but brought in purely to satisfy the Department of Education.
NSW Health spent $57 million on RATs for schools for what appears to be, according to the Premier, no reason except the feelings of staff and parents. The ‘Covid Smart Plan’ for the return to school has been left looking like a PR campaign to counteract the media.
“When we announced schools going back, the media would rush to find the scariest epidemiologist who was out there saying ‘every child across New South Wales would die’. And that was a problem, because we had to instill confidence. So what did we do? Together we agreed we would go and get all these Rapid Antigen Tests – which was a massive fee,” said the Premier.
“I mean, we had to procure – we procured millions of these tests and had the plan together and distributed them before schools started to three thousand schools across our state and five thousand childcare and early childcare education centres.
“And by doing that together and having that plan – and this is another interesting thing about the pandemic – [the Department of] Health completely disagreed with this approach, by the way, the didn’t see the point of having surveillance testing, but [the Department of] Education wanted it because we need to once again instil confidence in our teachers and instil confidence in our parents.
“The most ironic one I thought was we [NSW government] ended up bringing QR codes back when we weren’t even tracking and tracing. There was no science behind it at all. It had zero utility. But there was a massive campaign and when those campaigns get run what it does is that it depletes confidence. And that kind of reporting, as we have seen over this period of time has been depleting confidence in our people. So we actually brought it back for one reason only – to instil confidence so that people would go out using QR codes.”
Despite Perrottet’s comments, the official website for the school rollout still says, “Premier Dominic Perrottet said supporting students to return safely to the classroom is vital after two years of disruption to their education. […] New COVID-smart measures will help make this happen, including surveillance testing both students and staff twice weekly with RATS.”