Three in four Australians (76%) believe we should donate one million of our 50 million domestically produced COVID-19 vaccines to Papua New Guinea to help our northern neighbour through its crisis, according to polling conducted by YouGov for the Australian Council for International Development (ACFID).
The peak body commissioned the polling to test public support for helping PNG. The survey of 1025 Australian from April 1 – 6 also found:
- Eight in ten Australians either ‘strongly’ or ‘somewhat’ agree with Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s statement on 17th March that “the COVID-19 outbreak in Papua New Guinea (PNG) carries risks to the Australian people through incoming travellers”;
- A similar number (82 per cent) either ‘strongly’ or ‘somewhat’ agree that the discovery of mutating COVID-19 virus strains in PNG poses a risk to Australia;
- And 84 per cent either ‘strongly’ or ‘somewhat’ agree that the Australian Government should be supporting PNG to help stop the spread of the COVID-19 virus.
ACFID Chief Executive, Marc Purcell said the results demonstrated the inherent decency of the Australian people.
“The polling shows Australia is a generous and fair-minded nation. We will help our mates in tough times and make sacrifices to do so,” Mr Purcell said.
“This is the human course of action, but it also makes excellent economic sense. The case for aid to PNG is a business case for states and territories, like Queensland.
“Tourism operators across the country, especially in Queensland, need confidence their businesses can resume and be sustained. Lowering the COVID case load in PNG is critical to restoring that confidence. After all, only four kilometres separates North Queensland from PNG.
“Whether it is a hotel hosting conferences on the Gold Coast, a 4×4 operator on Fraser Island or an eco-lodge in the Daintree, nobody wants further lockdowns. We need to act with urgency to get PNG vaccinated.
“Top medical scientists are now predicting that without significant intervention, one million PNG citizens could have COVID within weeks. The Commonwealth Government has taken important steps, but we just need to keep going and get on top of this.
“This virus is mutating into new and more dangerous forms. The case for accelerating vaccinations in PNG is compelling. We do not want a situation where a COVID strain becomes resistant to vaccines and the world’s pharma companies have to re-run the scientific process for a new vaccine.
“This poll should reassure politicians of all stripe that the public overwhelmingly back swift and decisive action to vaccinate the people of PNG.”