High caseload measures in place, new investment welcomed

Western Australia is moving to ‘very high caseload’ COVID-19 requirements as of Thursday, March 10.

In many cases, this won’t change anything for your business — the main effects are on those employees who have been (or should be) nominated as ‘critical workers’.

The definition of a critical worker in WA is someone whose role cannot be undertaken at home and who:

  • performs a role that is critical to the COVID-19 response or continuation of critical services that prevent significant harm (e.g. loss of life, catastrophic impacts to safety or welfare, lack of access to essential goods) to an individual or the community; or
  • performs a role that is necessary for the safe continuation of services and/or has specialist skills in specified industries deemed critical.

READ MORE: Critical worker registration system opens

Critical workers who are asymptomatic close contacts can attend work as a last resort, if this is mutually agreed between employer and employee, provided all workers:

  • record a daily negative Rapid Antigen Test (RAT) prior to attending or on arrival at the workplace;
  • wear a surgical mask to work and outside the home, and travel alone, if possible;
  • when not at work, self-isolate;
  • if symptoms develop, follow symptomatic close contact protocols; and
  • if a RAT is positive, follow confirmed positive case protocols.

BUSINESS TOOLBOX: My business is an exposure site — what should I do?

As employers, you’re required to determine any critical roles in your workplace based on legal requirements and register this information online.

Working parents, and employers of working parents, should note that (non-household) close-contact but asymptomatic children in school or early childhood education and care settings can continue attending school or childcare.

$100m Investment Attraction Fund

Separately, today’s announcement that the State Government will introduce a $100 million Investment Attraction Fund will play an important role in attracting critical overseas investment needed to grow and diversify WA’s economy.

The fund is welcome, but we still need a stronger ‘ground game’ for WA overseas, as well as a comprehensive and consolidated resource for investors looking to invest in WA, says CCIWA Chief Economist Aaron Morey.

“The latter should take the form of an ‘Investment Portfolio Deal Book’ which would support overseas trade offices, and Ministers on investment tours, to answer the question, ‘What can I invest in?’,” Morey said.

“In terms of an overseas presence, Western Australia still does not have a trade and investment office in the United States – our largest investment partner. CCIWA considers Austin would be an ideal location, with its proximity to both the resources sector, and emerging tech industries.”

From today, WA businesses can submit Expressions of Interest (EOI) if they meet the Government’s diversification priorities, including:

  • energy;
  • mining, and mining equipment, technology and services;
  • defence industries;
  • tourism;
  • events and creative industries;
  • international education;
  • primary industries;
  • health and medical life sciences; and
  • space industries.

Applications for investments that will improve the value and productivity across multiple sectors of the economy, such as supply chain development, advanced manufacturing, science, innovation and technology and environmental, social and governance (ESG) frameworks are also being encouraged.

The Government says applications will be assessed against selection criteria to ensure the fund supports applications with the potential for high-value returns, provides synergies with its other initiatives, can attract Australian Government funding, and create local and sustainable jobs.

Businesses seeking support to establish and grow their operations in WA are encouraged to submit an EOI to the Fund.

Submissions will be assessed and shortlisted, with suitable proposals invited to submit a more detailed application.

For resources and advice, see CCIWA’s COVID-19 Support Centre

Our Employee Relations Advice Centre is also available to respond to your questions on (08) 9365 7660, or via [email protected].  

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