It’s the COVIDiots’ fault

If ever we needed a demonstration of the capacity of us humans to be stupid, selfish, ignorant and totally irresponsible, the behaviour of all those taking advantage of the relaxation of the isolation requirements, after the worst of what we now know to be the first wave, are demonstrating it now.

In New South Wales it was the Ruby Princess, simple failures of process releasing COVID-19 holidaymakers into an unsuspecting state to pass on this easily transmitted virus; in Victoria a government not normally known for its fondness for privatisation contracts out the security of quarantined international travellers returning to Melbourne to private security companies, who subcontract it out to others and away it goes, some kind of sex holiday for both those in quarantine and those meant to be protecting them and then out they go back into the community; nursing homes, run for profit rather than care with inadequate protection and staffing, and idiots ignoring the fundamental rules of hand washing, the 1.5 metre rule in social distancing and the protection of our own 4 m².

Let’s not mention the drunks, the parties, the self-confidence and indestructability of the young, the 25% of Melbourne’s COVID positive people who weren’t at home in quarantine as they were required to be on the two visits in one day, and the two surgically enhanced (but clearly not intellectually enhanced) young Queensland women and their litany of offences and ignorance because it’s all so distressing to see this level of social and community irresponsibility. Open up Manus! Put your mask on idiot, or keep out of Bunnings.

Through all of this, councils in New South Wales have been remarkably prudent, setting up remote working arrangements, embracing Teams and Zoom (as we all have) and still getting the work done and keeping the essential services provided by councils going during this awful time. Facetime inspections, providing their public and environmental professionals’ services to the communities and, let’s face it, anyone who is an EHO has the perfect opportunity to demonstrate those skills and qualifications in a pandemic no one could possibly contemplate. We know people in essential services who can’t believe their luck that, after all that training, at last there is an opportunity to be working in a real public health emergency.

Sure, councils like Clarence Valley and Sutherland were slow getting people working remotely and Sutherland responded badly to encouragement from the unions to get it happening quicker to provide proper protection for staff - famously responding to an email from depa encouraging the speedier implementation of 50:50 in the office and other arrangements, the CEO’s immediate response was to grab our poor delegate, who didn’t even know the email had been sent, and march him up the street to show him the queues outside Centrelink. Take that Comrade, apparently the CEO was trying to avoid that happening, not threatening that you were lucky not to be on the queue...

Nearly everyone moved quickly into safer working arrangements, the Splinter Award provided a comforting safety net and, with Stage 4 restrictions in Victoria, boundaries of other states closed and the risks from developing new clusters and hotspots in NSW, and particularly Sydney, we are far from a happy ending to this public health calamity.

If there is a positive, councils now have a better understanding of the benefits and productivity available from employees working from home. Real evidence that that will allow evidence-based decision-making next time employees ask to continue to work from home, or to start working from home. That will make the old managers/reactionaries look for new excuses, or go with the evidence...

But, while everyone’s social distancing and acknowledging the 1.5 metres and the 4 m², things weren’t quite going that well at Bayside...

Copyright © 2020 The Development and Environmental Professionals' Association (depa). All Rights Reserved. Webdesign: Dot Online