Ai Group involvement in COVID Vaccine Taskforce consultations

“Today’s consultation with the Federal Treasurer and the National COVID Vaccine Taskforce was a welcome opportunity to discuss how businesses can play a key role in delivering vaccine to staff, their families, customers and the broader community,” Innes Willox, Chief Executive of the national employer association Ai Group said today.

“Businesses are ready to communicate to their employees and the broader community the gains that come with vaccination. Benefits such as open borders, greater travel, reduced quarantine requirements and reduced restrictions provide strong incentives for the community to be vaccinated in addition to the obvious health benefits.

“Ai Group stressed at the meeting that many businesses are eager to host workplace-based vaccinations when supplies are available. Airports, shopping centres, industrial parks, clubs and pubs (especially in rural and regional Australia) are also very worthwhile potential vaccination sites.

“However, Ai Group raised the significant impediments around the lack of indemnity for companies and restrictive privacy rules that put workers at risk that need to be addressed before the roll-out of workplace-based vaccinations. Workers’ compensation does not provide appropriate or affordable protections for businesses against adverse vaccine reactions. Businesses need the same indemnities that the Government gives to itself, doctors and pharmaceutical companies.

“It was clear from today’s meeting that to allow workplace vaccinations employers also need state public health orders to be consistent.

“The success of the Federal Government’s pathway out of COVID and of any action from the Taskforce is dependent on consistency from state and territory governments and their buy-in on the broader vaccine roll-out plans. A lot of business time is being wasted on different state government restrictions, unnecessary and heavy-handed approaches and confused guidance.

“The Treasurer and Lieutenant General Frewen are to be congratulated for organising today’s consultation and being open to the advice of the business community. On behalf of our members we look forward to participating in further meetings as the roll-out strategy is advanced,” Mr Willox said.

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