“The announcement by the Victorian Government of consultations with business on a recovery plan is an opportunity for the State to focus on strategies to restore confidence in the State economy,” Tim Piper, the Victorian head of the employer association Ai Group said today.
“Premier Andrews is seeking input to the planning and has outlined ways in which businesses can operate in a COVID-safe manner. Ai Group members overwhelmingly have such safe plans already in place and will be looking to the Government for a broad and detailed plan to restore confidence in the State.
“Such a strategy could include the following:
- A clear return to business strategy that allows businesses and their employees to be ready for how and when activity can resume;
- Plans to drive new activity and attract investment;
- Strategies to bring back jobs to the State that are being lost to competitors in other states every day;
- Boosting business cash flow and reducing unnecessary regulatory burdens including through a Payroll Tax holiday. This would further free-up resources and complement the JobKeeper and JobSeeker payments that have kept the economy going through the crisis;
- Strategies to support apprentices and trainees and ensure we have the skills we need to support recovery;
- Plans to encourage entrepreneurship and innovation; and
- A statement should be made by the Government that shows what success looks like and what are the clear, evidence-based outcomes the Government is seeking to achieve.
“The Government should adopt a balance of risk approach and while taking health advice give fuller consideration to other implications of lockdowns including on domestic violence levels, mental health, suicide rates, higher youth unemployment and long-term unemployment.
“The risk-oriented approach should mean the removal of blanket COVID-restrictions. Where they are necessary, restrictions should be narrowly sector-based, not whole-of-industry-based, and apply to businesses where there is a high risk of transmission. Industries that can operate safely and fully across Australia and that did so during most of this crisis, including manufacturing, construction and the many industries that have transitioned to working from home, should simply need to comply with COVID-safe plans without generic restrictions on numbers on site or in warehouses.
“Victoria should work with other states to get the state borders opened as soon as possible.
“Successful businesses don’t turn on a dime or get switched on or off like a tap. It needs predictability and optimism to build confidence. Victorian business and those across the country who rely on Victoria need confidence, predictability and optimism,” Mr Piper said.