Labor welcomes Australia’s increased contribution towards tackling the worsening Ebola outbreak in West Africa.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has described the worsening Ebola crisis as “unparalleled in modern times” with the disease now having killed more than 2,470 people out of 4,940 cases in West Africa.
With the outbreak now escalating rapidly, West African healthcare facilities are unable to cope, and are in urgent need of financial and humanitarian assistance.
Labor notes the Abbott Government cut more than $118 million in overseas aid to Africa in its first Budget.
Today’s announcement of a further $7 million is a welcome and compassionate response to this rapidly escalating crisis.
Labor also congratulates President Obama for his announcement overnight that the US will send troops, engineers and medical personnel to build treatment centres and train healthcare workers to deal with the crisis.
While Ebola is a very serious disease there have been no cases in Australia and the risk of an outbreak here remains low.
Labor acknowledges the Department of Health Chief Medical Officer’s leadership in working with WHO officials to protect Australia in the unlikely event of an Ebola case occurring here.
We have also been assured Australia’s border protection and infection control measures are consistent with WHO’s recommendations for countries not affected by the outbreak.
Labor urges the government to continue to work closely with international agencies, and consider further contributions, should the Ebola crisis continue to worsen.