On January 15 the federal Department of Health said it was withdrawing single site workforce financial support arrangements for aged care workers.
The decision, not widely publicised outside the aged care sector, brought to a close a successful scheme designed to ensure staff employed at two or more aged care homes would not spread COVID-19 across multiple sites.
They would receive additional economic support to allow them to get by with income earned from just one site.
The scheme had been put in place during the devastating coronavirus outbreaks in Victorian nursing homes which claimed 639 lives.
This, like so much else that has happened with the response to COVID-19, appears to have been a triumph of bureaucratic complacency and a desire to cut costs over the lived experience.
What on earth gave officials the idea, at a time when new and more virulent strains of the virus were racing around the world, cause to think a brief lull in case numbers and deaths would last?
Was the reasoning that the vaccine rollout was on the way and that aged care home residents and workers would be the first in line for a jab? It now appears that as a direct result of this decision COVID-19 is back in at least two Victorian nursing homes.
This, the "steady as she goes" approach to the vaccine rollout, and the refusal to invest in purpose built Howard Springs-style "national resilience centres" across other states and territories suggest the government is more interested in standing on its record than anticipating new challenges.
There are growing fears the lockdown, due to end on Friday, will have to be extended.
The past week highlights just how inadequate the government's response to calls for financial assistance for workers left without income by the snap lockdown has been.
The Treasurer's claim he does not want to set a precedent is laughable to the point of fatuity. These are, as the famous 2020 saying goes, "unprecedented times". We need to have contingency programs in place.