Inexplicable delay is devastating for Victorians

Business Council of Australia

Business is at a loss to understand why Victorian authorities are unable to put effective controls in place like those in NSW to allow people to live and work alongside this virus.

“We cannot go on like this. Victorians cannot hang on week to week. People are at a financial and mental breaking point,” Business Council of Australia chief executive Jennifer Westacott said.

“How is it in a Federation that we can be operating off two completely different assumptions? It’s absolutely essential we are able to understand this because at the moment its preventing Victorian businesses from reopening and keeping people out of work.

“It’s just inexplicable that a state with comparable or lower case numbers than NSW cannot adopt the same best-practice system used in NSW and implement that state’s tools and technologies to contain local outbreaks and effectively manage contact tracing and tracking.

“Why is the science and medical advice in Victoria so different to the expert advice in NSW?

“A pattern of delays, maybes and apologies doesn’t excuse Victoria’s failure to manage local outbreaks. It is taking too long and too much is being lost.

“There can only be one explanation for the delays – Victorian authorities do not have confidence in their procedures to manage local outbreaks and we urge them to collaborate with NSW and adopt the NSW system.

“This isn’t about politics – it’s a desperate plea for clarity to outline and stick to a plan to safely reopen the state to protect lives and livelihoods. We support the Federal Treasurer’s call for a clearer and more rapid plan to get people’s lives back on track.

“Workers, small business owners, students and families in Victoria look over the border to NSW and cannot understand why they are being robbed of hope and the ability to get on with their lives in the same way.

“We repeat our long-standing offer to work with the Victorian Government to find a way to unlock the state and keep it unlocked.

“Lockdowns were necessary in the early stages of the virus because they gave us time to build capacity in our hospitals, stock up on vital health equipment such as masks and sanitiser, and put testing and contact tracing regimes in place.

“There are going to be future outbreaks, we cannot pause or threaten state-wide lockdowns every time this happens.

“We now need to learn to live alongside this virus because every day of delay and ongoing restrictions only deepens the devastating social and economic harm Victorians are experiencing.”

We respectfully ask the following questions:

  • What’s the difference between the Victorian medical and scientific advice and the NSW medical and scientific advice?
  • What’s the difference between the Victorian tracking and tracing system and the NSW system when it comes to managing local outbreaks?
  • What’s the new 14-day rolling average threshold in Victoria so that businesses can start to plan? What’s the advice supporting that?

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