Chief Executive Update 22 September 2021

22 September 2021

Sunday was not the news we wanted. The roadmap fell short: short of hope, short of NSW and short of where we need to be moving to as a state.

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Business has been in crisis for the last 20 months and the roadmap further intensified that crisis with many businesses needing to remain closed until Victoria hits the 80 per cent double COVID-19 vaccination target, which we are not expected to hit until early November. The Victorian Chamber will continue conversations with the government to accelerate the roadmap as we turbocharge our vaccination rollout. 

The Chamber has been advocating for a balanced and practical roadmap reflective of the National Cabinet Plan and Doherty Institute modelling, and in line with what NSW subsequently published. Given NSW are ahead of us and have determined that their model will enable them to open safely and effectively, it seems reasonable to expect Victoria could map the same journey. 

We want your feedback please on the Victorian Roadmap to Deliver the National Plan to help us continue those discussions. Please check your inbox for a survey link. 

I know many of you will need additional financial support as you remain in limbo through the current lockdown and we are making representations to government on that also. In addition, more needs to be done to incentivise vaccination which is the best chance business has to reopen and get back to doing you do best as quickly as possible. We now need to focus our efforts on reaching 70 per cent and then 80 per cent double vaccinated. 

The Victorian Chamber partnered with the Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity and Murdoch Children’s Research Institute on the COVID-19 vaccines: Your questions answered event on Monday. It was an informative, optimistic and insightful discussion which covered many issues from the vaccines’ effectiveness, booster shots, safety for children and pregnant women and mandatory vaccines in the workplace. 

If you missed it, I highly encourage you to watch the replay on the Doherty Institute’s website. There are also some fantastic ‘Vax Facts’ video resources from the University of Melbourne answering common COVID-19 questions. If you know anyone who is unsure about taking the vaccine, this is a great resource for them to watch as well. 

We held a MCC member discussion with Crown Resorts last week after it joined other major employers to announce that it would mandate vaccinations for employees. A big thank you to Crown Resorts Corporate Affairs Director Chris Reilly for providing insights into their decision and its implications, and thank you also to our MCC members who attended. 

Mandatory vaccinations are at the top of most business’ mind. The Victorian Chamber has written to the Prime Minister and associated Victorian Ministers on the feedback we received from recent roundtables with our members to raise numerous workplace issues that require urgent clarity and guidance. I will update you on the progress of this correspondence in due course. 

Throughout the meetings, the groups identified several issues facing the business community which require Federal and State Government action, including the need for an agreed approach, legislative and regulatory certainty for businesses, clarity on employer’s rights and obligations, and what health orders will be in place to protect businesses. Thank you to our members who provided this vital feedback which will help the Chamber continue to advocate on your behalf. 

Victorian Chamber Events 

Don’t miss an important member briefing next Wednesday with Victorian Health Minister Martin Foley MP. This is your opportunity to hear about how the State Government is dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic and vaccination rollout directly from the Minister tasked with the health portfolio in Victoria. 

I will also be delivering another informal Zoom meeting on Friday 8 October from 1-2pm for our members who would like to ask me any questions they like in an open discussion on the issues most important to you. 

I am also looking forward to our Victoria Summit Pathways Day next Friday as we come together virtually to make decisions on how we achieve our new vision for the state. In addition to four past Premiers in Jeff Kennett AC, Steve Bracks AC, John Brumby AO and Ted Baillieu AO, I am also proud to confirm a special Victorian Leaders Panel of Steph Ryan, Deputy Leader of The Nationals, Janet Whiting AM, Chair of Visit Victoria and Rana Hussain, Diversity and Inclusion Manager at Cricket Australia. 

There is still time to register, so please head to our website to check out further details of all our upcoming events 

Today we celebrated AFL Grand Final Week at our annual Victorian Chamber Pitcher Partners Grand Final Lunch, held virtually. While it’s disappointing to lose the match to Perth this year, I cannot wait for us to make the AFL Grand Final bigger and better than ever next year at the MCG and return to hosting this fabulous Grand Final Lunch event in-person. 

While the MCG may be empty on Saturday, we can be proud that two of our Melbourne-based teams have made the final after everything COVID-19 has thrown at them this year.  

And just on a final and somewhat difficult note, I’m certain that none of us can condone the behavior that we have seen in the streets the past few days. Our state is a beautiful state, and we cannot allow these acts of violence which are clearly putting our Victoria Police members in harm’s way. 

It’s time for calm, and to look after each other as we push ahead to opening up. I hope it’s the last that we see of those disturbing and quite disgusting incidents. These are not the images that we want ruining our reputation on the global scale.  

Enjoy your long weekend, and I hope all our Melbourne Demons, Western Bulldogs and Melbourne Storm supporters have a Saturday to remember! 

Regards,  
Paul. 

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