The Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry welcomes the three-step roadmap to a COVID-safe Australia announced today following several months of outbreak and uncertainty.
“ACCI supports lifting regional and interstate travel restrictions as soon as is practicable, to breathe life back into regional and urban economies,” ACCI CEO James Pearson said.
“Australian businesses depend on operating as seamlessly as possible between states and territories, as many supply services and source goods interstate.
“We recognise state and territory-specific timetables for the three-stage plan will be based on the current pandemic impact trend and will be subject to any change in health outcomes and ongoing reviews. We hope there are no significant detours or U-turns on the road to recovery.
“The Federal Government is balancing health and economic issues. We know that if further outbreaks occur, Australia has implemented a strong set of tools to respond, and has the agility and resources, including in its PPE sourcing and launch of the COVIDSafe app, to do so.
“It will be important to isolate infection hotspots if and where they occur, to allow economic activity to accelerate across as broad a scope of business and the community as is safe to do so.
“But keeping the economy in hibernation, at a cost of $4 billion a week, is no longer viable,” Mr Pearson said.
“Businesses, particularly small and medium businesses, need to roll out their restart plans and we would like to acknowledge the great work industry groups in the hospitality, retail and construction sectors, to name just a few, have done to prepare business to reopen or continue operating safely as restrictions change.
“We are now focusing our efforts on helping businesses adapt to changed operating environments under the first two stages of the road out to maximise the number of customers and increase scale of operations.”
ACCI is continuing to work with Safe Work Australia on developing additional, COVID-19-specific practical guidance and addressing gaps in information or issues with implementation as they arise.
“Prescribed and mandated rules such as one person per four square metres will present business viability challenges to many sectors, particularly tourism and hospitality businesses. We have strongly urged governments to work with industry sectors on how to achieve social distancing without imposing a limitation that will be unworkable for many,” Mr Pearson said.