Chief Executive Update 4 December

04 December 2020

We have come so far this year and as we enter the final few weeks of 2020 it is abundantly clear that we deserve a COVID Safe Summer.

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Paul Guerra

I have been speaking to the Government regularly in recent weeks to negotiate on behalf of our members on what a COVID Safe Summer should look like. Victorian businesses are optimistic of good news on our roadmap to reopening on Sunday and the Victorian Chamber hopes to see more restrictions eased.

Our feedback to the Government includes the requirement of masks on public transport and in retail and supermarket environments only. We’d also like to see density limits of one person per two square metres with a maximum of 300 patrons for restaurants, cafes and pubs, and allowing standing at outdoor venues, plus up to 5,000 people for outdoor events that are fenced, ticketed and seated, subject to the density requirement.

What is crucial for business certainty and confidence is a long-term plan. The Victorian Chamber has also asked for a commitment to review the COVID Safe Summer framework in January when the hotel quarantine system has been tested and proven effective. With news that a vaccine will be available early next year, we are all breathing a sigh of relief that the end of this pandemic could be in sight. Congratulations to our Federal Minister for Health, Greg Hunt MP, on his leadership in this area and remember that you heard the news first on our VCCI webinar with Minister Hunt back in October! It is also pleasing that the federal, state and territory governments are cooperating with our international educational sector to advance plans for the return of international students, hopefully in 2021. 

Victorians have done so well to get to where we are today, albeit slower than other parts of the country. I know we can not only catch up, but quickly overtake other states because Victoria truly has the best minds, businesses and liveability of anywhere in Australia.

Initiatives like the State Government’s free QR Code for businesses have increased confidence that we can open further and operate safely. We cannot rest on our laurels and expect our state will easily bounce back to where it was before. We are in a new normal and we need to ensure we protect events, businesses, visitors and talent from leaving for other states like our neighbours New South Wales.

I can tell you the support for the Victoria Summit has grown this week. Thanks to all of you for your interest, and you can rest assured we will continue to update you on the progress. In the meantime, check out further details on our website.

We must be bold in our approach to create a new era for Victoria and that means trusting business to successfully implement hygiene practices, density limits, QR Codes and check in systems and staff training. The current COVID-19 case numbers reflect how well Victorian businesses have adapted to this already. We recently spoke to a few of our members to hear what is most important to them in the recovery phase off the back of the 2020-21 State Budget announcement. Thank you to Glen Dorey (R & L Smith Plumbing), Peter Jackson (Peter Jackson Electrical), Fiona and Bernie Sombekke (SOM Blinds), and Angela Fayth (Energia Studios) for their contribution - check out the video below to hear their thoughts.

There is still plenty on offer at the Victorian Chamber in the next few weeks and we encourage you to check out our upcoming webinars and events. Next week, we have the third edition of our member-only digital marketing webinar, plus an important briefing on mental health, performance and conduct. Lastly, don’t miss out on the chance to hear from one of Australia’s most high-profile health and wellness identities, Jessica Sepel, in a special Victorian Chamber online event on 15 December.

We are optimistic of good news on Sunday that will set us up for a great run into the summer holiday break. I hope you have a fantastic weekend and let’s get ready to make big plans for our future in 2021.

Regards,
Paul. 

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