WA should not eschew path to re-join the nation

The decision by National Cabinet today vindicates the Chamber of Commerce and Industry WA’s calls for a clear national framework to resolve the patchwork of State border approaches. This offers greater certainty for businesses to invest and to reinvigorate economic activity, as we confront the first recession in nearly 30 years 

It is unfortunate for the three in five WA businesses suffering due to WA’s hard borders, that the State Government will not join the other States and Territories on the path back to national economy that is both open and safe. In the last quarter, the size of WA’s domestic economy contracted to the same size it was in 2010.

Acknowledging that the health of Western Australians must remain the first consideration of the State Government, there has been recognition by National Cabinet of the economic disruption imposed by a piecemeal approach to borders, and the need to lay out a consistent, transparent framework. The peak medical group the Australian Medical Association accepts that while borders have been a successful tool; “there is a huge negative effect on the economy” and that “closures should only be there while they’re actually needed, and not longer.”

The WA business community is hopeful of a vaccine, but the present conditions may well need to be managed for years, an unsustainable period for WA to remain a closed economy. The economic reality is that 60,000 more Western Australians are out of work now, than when this crisis began. A projected 11 per cent unemployment rate would mean up to 160,000 people out of jobs. The door remains open to the State Government to join the National Cabinet in forging a path back towards an open, growing national economy, a decision which would provide clarity and certainty to WA businesses as they plan their investments into the future.

Chris Rodwell

CEO

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