Constituents and indeed my office have had trouble receiving updated information from the hotline even several days after the Premier or Minister for Health have announced new information regarding COVID-19 restrictions.
Days later, the hotline operators can often only say, ‘Sorry, we are unable to assist as the new information about COVID-19 has not yet been provided to us by the Victorian Department of Health’.
On more than one occasion when my staff have called the hotline seeking vital information on behalf of constituents, they have been told by the operator ‘I don’t know’ or ‘I am not sure as I still don’t have that information’.
This is not a satisfactory response. This is not an acceptable answer. This is clearly not good enough.
This information can literally mean the difference between life and death.
These delays by the department in providing important COVID-19 updates to its own public hotline service are totally unacceptable.
The Victorian Department of Health’s coronavirus website states:
If your enquiry is related to coronavirus (COVID-19) health concerns or current guidelines, please call the dedicated COVID-19 hotline 1800 675 398.
It is hard to see how a dedicated COVID-19 hotline can properly serve the community it was set up to serve if it does not have the latest information.
Vulnerable Victorians with genuine health concerns need a service they can rely on and have faith in. This is not happening, and the system is failing them.
The Andrews Labor government has had more than 18 months to get this right. I am seeking the minister’s urgent assistance to rectify this problem.