Council hears business concerns about vaccine mandate

Cairns Regional Council will write to the State Government to implore that, if implementing the “Public Health and Social Measures Linked to Vaccination Status”, they take all steps necessary to remove and mitigate the risks for businesses when it comes to compliance.

Cairns Mayor Bob Manning invited local business owners attending today’s Ordinary Meeting, along with the CEO of the Cairns Chamber Patricia O’Neill, to discuss concerns relating to the State Government’s vaccine mandates, which are due to come into place 17 December.

Following the discussion, Cr Manning thanked the business owners for attending the meeting and expressing their concerns and introduced a Mayoral Minute, which was considered by Councillors and adopted unanimously.

See below the Mayoral Minute:

Life changed at the beginning of 2020. Ever since, we have operated in a state of flux: hotspots, 4m2 rules, masks, border closures, lockdowns and for many of us – being separated from family. There is nothing we want more, than to return to normal. I’m sure I speak for all of us when I say that.

Life will change again in a few short weeks. Opening Queensland’s border moves us to some kind of normalcy. However, with that we know that Covid continues to pose a threat to our communities.

We need to get Cairns and the greater region open for business, and to keep it that way. Businesses cannot afford lockdowns, capacity restrictions and border closures.

We are entering a new era, and more than ever, our community need as a whole will be greater than any one individual.

The science is unequivocal: vaccination is the best protection. 84.2% of the people in Cairns LGA are now at least partially vaccinated. We are now mere metres from the finish line.

Cairns Regional Council does not play a role in public health policy. We feed into government, we all have had that experience over time.

We advocate to State and Federal governments on these issues and we don’t always get the treatment that we would expect. We also at times appreciate the enormity of the task that confronts everybody.

It would be misleading to suggest otherwise. It is firmly the remit of the State Government. Only the State has the legislative powers to set public health directives. This Council is legally bound to follow those directives and the repercussions of not doing that are significant.

Therefore, I move that:

  1. Cairns Regional Council is committed, and obligated, to follow any health direction made by the Queensland Government under advice from the Chief Health Officer.
  2. Cairns Regional Council notes Queensland Health’s recommendation that residents seek to be vaccinated for their protection and that of their community.

3. We write to the State Government to implore that, if implementing the “Public Health and Social Measures Linked to Vaccination Status”, they take all steps necessary to remove and mitigate the risks for businesses when it comes to compliance.

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