WA’s controlled border a step in the right direction

Chris Rodwell

CCIWA CEO

The Chamber of Commerce and Industry WA welcomes the State Government’s decision to shift from a hard to a ‘controlled’ border, with travel permitted between COVID-safe destinations. Since mid-June, CCIWA has held a consistent position that any easing of the border needs to be based on health advice and that greater clarity on the preconditions for opening the border is required. We have also stressed the need for a world-class testing and tracing regime in order to safeguard people’s health and our economy.

The State Government’s announcement to shift to a controlled border on November 14 will provide relief to the thousands of WA businesses who have struggled to operate with the hard border.

While some businesses have supported the hard border and have performed well in an environment of unprecedented fiscal stimulus, the recent WA Super-CCIWA Business Confidence Survey outlined the full extent of the economic damage wrought by border restrictions. In addition to the loss of tourism, WA’s approach has cost our businesses advance bookings, disrupted supply lines, driven skilled and unskilled worker shortages, and imposed a competitive disadvantage in favour of businesses outside the State. All up, more WA businesses have been suffering serious impacts due to WA’s hard border, than have been unaffected.

While the State Government is taking its own path in managing its border, CCIWA will continue to urge that WA agree to a joint roadmap along with all other States. Our view is that National Cabinet is the best place to advance the reintegration of the Australian economy with a clear plan to manage risk and an outline of the public health components required to support the plan.

As we move away from our reliance on a hard border, it’s critical that WA and every other State further prioritises and strengthens testing, tracing and quarantine systems. The measures announced today should give confidence that we are moving in the right direction. These investments will be important to give businesses and the community reassurance that the risks will be managed. They will mean we can have greater confidence in moving to ease the 28-day no-transmission rule, which is still quite stringent.

It is also important that all West Australian businesses review their plans to ensure their workplaces are COVID-safe. There is no room for complacency.

CCIWA will always strongly defend the best interests of WA businesses, which supply six in every seven jobs and sustain the prosperous economy that Western Australians rely upon.

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