The Chamber of Commerce and Industry WA (CCIWA) welcomes the State Government’s confirmation today that travel to and from New South Wales and Victoria will be classified as “very low risk” from 8 December.
Since mid-June, CCIWA has called for a clear roadmap and preconditions which would satisfy the State Government that it was safe to re-join the Australian economy, based on the advice of health authorities. It is critical that WA transparently upholds the criteria outlined to manage the border, to ensure businesses can manage their operations and investments.
We pay tribute to the thousands of WA businesses who have sacrificed so much and fought to persevere through this economic crisis. In particular, it is important to recognise those businesses damaged by ongoing border restrictions. Some have faced a competitive disadvantage from competitors having easier access to customers, unable to travel to other states to deliver services or pitch for work. Tourism businesses have lost bookings from the eastern states. Businesses across sectors have been unable to access skilled or unskilled workers and those relying on air freight for their supply chains have also been negatively impacted.
As we transition away from a hard border, CCIWA continues to support strengthening WA’s testing and tracing regime, to safeguard Western Australians’ health and economy. The recent enacting of QR code tracing is an appropriate step. A world-class testing and tracing system would impart greater confidence to keep borders open in the face of minor outbreaks in other states, avoiding the risk of a sudden reinstatement of the hard border. The importance of this should not be understated. The full economic benefits from open borders will only be achieved if businesses and workers are confident that border restrictions will only be reimposed where it is absolutely essential to do so. To this end, it is important that the State Government signal its risk tolerance toward future outbreaks in other states.
CCIWA is working closely with WA businesses to support the review and renewal of COVID-safe workplace plans. It remains CCIWA’s position that WA should join the national roadmap to reintegrate the Australian economy, with a clear outline of public health components required to manage risk.