Chief Executive Update 6 October 2021

October is finally here, and we are three weeks or less from hitting the 70 per cent target to start the reopening. It’s within sight now, and we can finally start to think about waving goodbye to lockdowns forever. The Victorian Chamber is continuing our push for the State Government to revise openings at both the 70 and 80 per cent targets.


This week Victoria reached two unwanted records – the most locked down city in the world and the highest number of cases in a 24-hour period nation-wide. It’s a reminder of everything we have lost over the past 18 months, but it should propel us to ensure we value it more when we get the chance to live our lives and operate our businesses once again.

The good news is that a better future is within our grasp. I know it is difficult to stay resilient while surrounded by negative news, but we must continue to look towards the light on the hill and do what we can now to prepare our businesses for reopening. In case you missed it, I wrote in the Herald Sun about how Victoria cannot be left behind - we must plot a path back with vigour. It was good to see the construction sector reopen again; our position remains that we want all sectors and all businesses open and trading viably as soon as they can.

Friday’s announcement on the use of Public Health Orders to mandate vaccination addressed many of the issues facing business, but there is still more to be done to provide certainty and clarity on our path to a new COVID Normal. As I wrote in The Age, there are still questions that business need answered about how to manage mandatory vaccination including the employer’s right to request, record and disclose vaccination status and what will qualify as a valid exception. The Victorian Chamber will also monitor how Victoria’s Vaccinated Economy Trial plays out next week.

In the meantime, let’s get ready for reopening! Expressions of interest are now open for the annual Melbourne Knowledge Week 2022 when Melburnians come together to explore, discuss and ideate our future. Applications are also open for the next round of the National Business Events Program, offering eligible event organisers more choice and more cash to offset costs for hosting events anywhere in Victoria. Plus, don’t forget to register for the Victorian Chamber’s free Business Boost Webinar Series aimed at preparing businesses for reopening on key topics with subject matter experts.

I am feeling optimistic about our future, even more so following our Victoria Summit Pathways Day on Friday where we brainstormed the pathways needed to achieve our new vision for the state. I thought it was a brilliant day and we were delighted to receive a message of support from Her Excellency the Honourable Linda Dessau AC, Governor of Victoria, to start the day. I loved hearing from our guest speakers, Jeff Kennett AC, Steve Bracks AC, John Brumby AO and Ted Baillieu AO, plus Janet Whiting AM, Steph Ryan, and Rana Hussain on our leader’s panel. We received such positive feedback from so many different groups of participants, and I thank all of you who came along and contributed to this important process. We can’t wait to share the outcomes with you in due course.

If you missed it, we also had some great media coverage of the day in both the Australian Financial Review and the Herald Sun. We can learn so much from our leaders, and it did beg the question whether we hear from them enough? I am excited to share that we will be holding a third Victoria Summit day in December. Please stay tuned to our website for details to be released soon.

This week the Victorian Chamber launched our Cost of Doing Business Survey. The purpose of this survey is to help inform the Cost and Ease of Doing Business in Victoria Taskforce, which will assist the Chamber to develop business-led policy recommendations that grow the competitiveness of Victoria’s economy and the prosperity of its people and business.

The survey will be particularly helpful in exploring intangible costs of doing business, major risks or barrier to doing business in Victoria over the short to medium term, and key opportunities for doing business in Victoria. Recommendations from the Taskforce will form the basis for the Victorian Chamber’s future budget submissions and advocacy to Federal and State Governments. We would appreciate if you could take a few minutes to complete the survey to have your voice heard.

Finally, I would love for you to join me on Friday for a member discussion where you will have the chance to ask me questions on the issues directly impacting you. My team and I at the Victorian Chamber stand with you in these difficult times and will assist in any way we can.

Let’s get vaccinated, roll up our sleeves, and get ready to burst out of the blocks once we hit our vaccination targets in the coming weeks.

Stay safe and I hope you enjoy the week ahead.


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