Three in four Australians (76%) believe the country 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.
This is according to polling conducted by YouGov for the Australian Council for International Development (ACFID).
ACFID commissioned the polling to test public support for helping Papua New Guinea and a total of 1,025 Australians were surveyed between April 1-6.
Researchers found that eight in 10 Australians either ’strongly’ or ‘somewhat’ agree with Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s statement on 17th March that “the Covid-19 outbreak in PNG carries risks to the Australian people through incoming travellers”.
Government should be supporting PNG
And 84 percent either ‘strongly’ or ‘somewhat’ agreed that the Australian Government should be supporting PNG to help stop the spread of the virus within the Pacific island nation of around 8,8-million people.
ACFID Chief Executive, Marc Purcell, said he believed 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,” 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.”
Lower caseload to restore confidence
Purcell said tourism operators across the country, especially in Queensland, needed confidence that their businesses can resume and be sustained. Lowering the Covid case load in PNG is critical to restoring that confidence, given that only four kilometres separates North Queensland from Papua New Guinea.
“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,” he stated.
“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.”
Purcell said the poll should reassure politicians that the public overwhelmingly backed swift and decisive action to vaccinate the people of PNG.