…when you’re actually behind

Sentinel-Times comment

QUEENSLAND, the ACT and New South Wales have had QR code tracking systems in place at cafés, restaurants and pubs for months.
They’ve successfully kept their COVID-19 numbers down by using the system to trace positive cases and close contacts… why not Victoria?
The Premier Daniel Andrews was hammered by the media at his daily conference on Thursday on exactly that point.
However, while there was no world-leading QR system to be rolled out, as he claimed, he certainly had some world-leading political-speak for the media pack.
In summary, according to Mr Andrews we’re actually in front of the other states because we are behind – go figure!
“Both NSW and the ACT have had their QR code systems up and operating for over a month and we’ve had all that additional time ahead of reopening to get ourselves organised…” was the opening gambit from the media.
“Yes, but they’re not compatible with the new, best-in-class database we’ve put forward. I went into this yesterday and the answer hasn’t changed,” Mr Andrews said.
We still haven’t got a QR system either.
“Why didn’t we make sure it was in place ahead of reopening yesterday? Why couldn’t we have made sure our QR code was in place? We’ve had weeks to prepare for reopening yesterday. Why couldn’t we make sure we had a QR code system that was ready to run?” the media continued.
“If there’s some implied criticism in your question, I don’t accept that. You’ve got to get this right and getting it right is not quite as simple as taking something off the shelf,” Mr Andrews said, staying the course.
“When you’ve got the best-in-class IT system, and that’s not my judgement, that’s the judgement of people like Alan Finkel (Australia’s Chief Scientist), who was at Senate Estimates yesterday and who has been all around the country. It’s not a contest as such but he has made very favourable comments. He’s worked very closely with us and very hard. He’s a great Victorian and I’m very grateful to him.
“We do have some new systems that we can be very confident about. But you’ve got to get this right and it’s not quite as simple as taking something from another state or off the shelf. With this process, if you were to compare the systems, I think you will find we will finish up with a universal QR system that is ahead of, well ahead, of NSW for instance.”
Mr Andrews said he would normally be in favour of buying software off the shelf but he believes Victoria will come up with a QR code system and contact tracing system that will be one of the best in the world… we just don’t have it now.
“Why can’t we have an interim, not-so-perfect QR system? At the moment we don’t have any, while we are aiming for perfection. Isn’t 30% or 40% performance better than nothing?” the media continued.
“Yes, but I don’t think it is nothing,” he responded, citing his conversations with Wesfarmers (Bunnings and Kmart) about a pre-booking system that was working well for them.
“In some businesses, pen and paper will work, and they’ll take that very seriously. There will be an ability, just as other states have done, to align and indeed to be well ahead of bigger steps where we have bigger crowds and more people moving through, we will be very well placed to do, not just what other states have done, but to be well and truly ahead of them and that’s a good thing.”
So, it’s a good thing that we’ll be better than them but when?
Clearly we should have had a QR system for collecting customers data already and Mr Andrews and his government should rightly be questioned hotly by the media until one is rolled out.