“Today’s so-called Victorian roadmap to recovery is a document of despair for industry and their employees. Rather than providing the hope and optimism required, along with clear and measurable steps for businesses to open up, today’s announcement will only prolong the economic and social pain that all Victorians are feeling,” Innes Willox, Chief Executive of the national employer association Ai Group, said today.
“Industry expected and needed more from today’s announcement. We participated in consultations on the plan in good faith, but it is clear the Victorian Government has chosen to ignore practical advice about how to now safely reopen workplaces and get the economy moving.
“There will be catastrophic economic, health and social damage caused by the continued lockdown and prospect of more months of sharply diminished activity.
“The so-called “pilot light” for key parts of industry is not working and businesses employing hundreds of thousands of Victorians that had operated safely for months will needlessly remain shuttered for an indefinite period.
“Employers now talk openly of the stress their Victorian workforce is under, coping with home schooling, separation from their families, friends and workmates, knowing people who are out of work and the threat to their own job security.
“It is now clear that as a result of state government decisions, actions and failures, Victoria will be an economic basket case and a drag on the national economy for years. Significant businesses have already made decisions to divert investment away from the state and today’s announcement will only step up the pace of movement away from Victoria.
“All reasonable health advice recognises that the virus will be with us for years and points to the need for us to do better to keep our economy open and take practical steps to keep workplaces safe. Hoping for a vaccine and constantly threatening to shut down business activity is not an economic strategy. Nor is it a strategy to protect the overall health and well being of Victorians.
“Industry expected a clear and concise pathway to reopening. It didn’t get it. Industry also needed a commitment that the Government would use its tools around tax, training and infrastructure to be creative, generous and supportive in the recovery phase. It didn’t get that either.
“Victorians and all Australians deserved better than what was provided today,” Mr Willox said.