“There is a danger that competitive federalism may be becoming a contest over which premier can pull the lockdown trigger first. This isn’t the gunfight at the O.K. Corral. We need to avoid panicked responses and governments need to weigh health and broader advice including on mitigating the harsh economic impacts of tough restrictions and lockdowns,” Innes Willox, Chief Executive of the national employer association Ai Group said today.
“Governments also need to be careful of their language and not to needlessly scare people. The imposition of restrictions in South Australia without a single case risks being seen as an overreaction. Other states are on the verge of their own disproportionate reactions and business calls on state and territory leaders to prioritise testing and tracing which has in many cases achieved the same results as the harshest of restrictions but with less impact on lives and livelihoods.
“Business looks to government for leadership and this should be based on more than health advice. Local eradication may be possible in the short term but it is an impossible long-term goal when considering that this virus will be present around the world for many years to come. We need some common sense injected into discussions on when and if to lock down and some forward thinking about what living with COVID will look like when high vaccination levels are reached.
“The losers in the kneejerk lockdown contest are the community and the businesses that provide goods, services and jobs,” Mr Willox said.