Electorate Offices transformed into “COVID call centres”: Dametto
23 September 2021
HINCHINBROOK MP Nick Dametto has called for temporary staff increases for Queensland Electorate Offices that are struggling to meet the desperate public’s demands for help in navigating Queensland’s border restrictions.
The Katter’s Australian Party MP said that latest QLD and NSW border restrictions had transformed his Electorate Office into a COVID hotline.
He said the human cost of the Palaszczuk Labor Government’s fluid border decisions was significant, with residents stranded out of their home state.
“My staff, and I’m sure other Electorate Officers across the state, are under immense pressure,” Mr. Dametto said.
“Our office has been inundated with COVID enquiries from stranded Queenslanders wanting to return home.
“We have constituents who have submitted their border pass entry application weeks ago and have still not received any correspondence from Queensland Health.
“They phone the COVID call centre and either can’t get through or do not receive relevant information to assist with their enquiry.
“Electorate Offices are getting slammed with COVID enquiries because people can’t get the support they need from Queensland Health.
“I understand that as the State Member my role is to assist and support these enquiries however, this additional workload affects the Electorate Officers time to attend to other matters.”
Mr. Dametto said the demand placed on his staff was so great, he was considering sending an invoice for their time to the Health Minister.
“The phones are still ringing off the hook with enquiries relating to roads, infrastructure, housing, grants, letters of support, weapons licencing, safety issues and health just to name a few,” he said.
“We can’t just put a pause on these enquiries – my constituents deserve to be responded to in a timely manner and this additional pressure makes achieving this difficult.
“I’m sure that other Electorate Officers across Queensland would agree that they need State Government assistance and support when it comes to COVID enquiries.”
Mr Dametto said a temporary increase in staff allocations was needed to meet the current demand, or alternatively additional support in the form of regular meetings with Queensland Health representatives to provide updates on his constituents COVID enquiries.
He said he would write to the Clerk of the Queensland Parliament, and the Health Minister, with his requests.