Lithgow City Council Mayor, Maree Statham has refused a request from the Australian Vaccination Risk Network to park an anti-vaccination bus on public land.
“Our country is still suffering the severe effects of a global pandemic, with nearly 14,000 Australians having died from COVID-19,” said Mayor Statham.
“With new variants abound and cases surging once more, it is predicted that global deaths will soon exceed 6.5 million.
“I feel for all those who have been affected by the virus, either directly or indirectly – loved ones have passed and businesses closed because of this virus. It is important that we make decisions based on facts, including the decision to get vaccinated. The Council has worked closely with staff and NSW Health to provide local vaccination services to those willing and able.”
Earlier this month, the Australian Vaccination Risk Network (AVN) reached out to Lithgow City Council, requesting a public site be made available for the purposes of collecting and disseminating misinformation regarding the safety and efficacy of vaccines.
“I find that the narrative being spread by this group is conflicting and confusing,” Mayor Statham said.
“To review statistics or hear more about vaccines, it is important we defer to fact and science. While I appreciate the freedom of the public to conduct their own research, anti-vaccination campaigns place vulnerable communities at risk and challenge the gains made over the twentieth century to eradicate diseases.
“For this reason, Council will not be approving the application of the AVN to use public lands for this purpose,” she said.
The move follows Blue Mountains City Council’s recent rejection of the anti-vax bus.
“In support of Blue Mountains Mayor, Councillor Mark Greenhill, we also feel that any request by anti-vaccination groups to hold events should be refused,” Mayor Statham said.