DELIVERED IN THE FEDERATION CHAMBER
I rise to give voice to the Nepalese community in my electorate. In recent months we have watched in horror at the unfolding COVID-19 crisis in India, but this virus is running rampant across the subcontinent and Nepal is now facing a similar crisis. It is reported Nepal has recorded some half a million cases and some 6,000 deaths, but experts believe these numbers are significantly underrepresented in terms of the total infection and death toll.
I have great admiration for the Nepalese community in Western Sydney, many of whom I consider close friends, including Goba Katuwal, Ramesh Pandey, Binod Shrestha, Ganesha KC and Indra Ban. In fact, I intended to visit Nepal in March last year, but the pandemic made it impossible at the very last minute. The Australian Nepalese community is calling for the federal government to do all it can to support our friends to the north.
These are sentiments I echo. If Australia is to be an active citizen in our region, we need to take decisive steps to reduce the risk of COVID-19, particularly in countries where outbreaks can have such devastating impacts. To my Nepalese friends I say: I stand with you. It's time this federal government did too. It has announced support and now it needs to get on with delivering it and work with the Nepalese ambassador to get humanitarian and medical aid to the people who need it most. The time for symbolic gestures is over. Nepal needs our help, and we must deliver it.