It is essential the State and Federal Governments now clarify the preconditions for reopening the economy, including State and international borders in order to give businesses the certainty they need to rebuild.
Businesses and the broader community have made extraordinary sacrifices to protect the health and safety of all Australians, especially the most vulnerable in our community. We’ve put our livelihoods on the line to keep the whole community safe.
Recent protests across the country illustrate the inconsistency with how rules are being applied across our community. Many Australians including the business community, rightly support the struggle of Indigenous peoples in Australia and are committed to reconciliation. It is concerning though to see vital health and safety measures now being disregarded.
It is critical that there is consistency in the application of rules across the community. If it is safe to have large crowds of people then the same should apply across the economy. That would allow our arts, entertainment and events businesses to get back to business with immediate effect.
In providing clarity on the preconditions for reopening the economy, governments should explain the standards that have to be met across State and international jurisdictions in relation to community transmission, testing, contact tracing, quarantining, and social distancing measures. This is critical to ensure decisions made are not arbitrary, nor viewed as such.
Right now, the business community views these decisions as more art than science due to their inconsistent application.
The current lack of clarity is creating serious risks to our community and our economy.
If it is the case that mass gatherings should not be occurring due to concerns of further outbreak, then such gatherings put at risk the lives of the vulnerable in our community and thousands of jobs.
If on the other hand it is now safe to have such gatherings, then failing to reopen the rest of the economy unnecessarily delays our economic rebuild. This comes with its own health risks as it will give rise to mental health and other concerns due to job loss and financial stress. Similarly, it could potentially destroy thousands of jobs and cost billions of dollars.
Businesses can’t simply remain in a holding pattern with no real comprehension as to when they might be able to recommence business. For a trading State like WA that clarity is essential. It’s time the Government share the formula.