Reopen and restart roadmap: A statement from the Victorian Chamber of Commerce and Industry Chief Executive Paul Guerra

03 September 2020

Victoria needs a plan for the future, not a plan to stay locked down. Until a vaccine is available, we have to learn to live with this virus, keep people safe, and allow our economy to recover quickly.

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Victoria’s economy is in a desperate state, with high and growing unemployment and a severe lack of confidence.

Indefinite lockdowns, lack of information and cycling in and out of restrictions will only lead to an avalanche of business closures and permanent job losses.

The Victorian Chamber has been consulting extensively with Government, other industry bodies and unions this week to inform the design of the roadmap out of restrictions to be announced on Sunday.

We have relayed feedback from our members to the government as we hear daily from desperate businesses needing to be given the greenlight to reopen before it is too late.

Any restart plan needs to be enacted in line with health advice and trends of lowering transmission numbers, but businesses cannot stay closed forever.

On Sunday, Victorian businesses will expect a clear roadmap for restart with realistic dates and health parameters that enable every business and employee to get on with rebuilding our economy.

This should be based on a focus on the health response rather than blunt industry and geographic restrictions.

Bringing infections down will require more testing, with results in less than 12 hours, rapid response teams for newly identified cases, contact tracing that works, and continued social distancing, hygiene and use of masks and personal protective equipment.

We have said all along that what business needs is clarity and certainty and we have been consulting with government in good faith on a template to restart which includes four stages.

Premier Daniel Andrews today stated the roadmap announced on Sunday will be guided by case numbers and the type of cases.

The Victorian Chamber will continue its engagement on the sector plans ahead of Sunday’s announcement and reiterates the importance of Government, community and business collaboration to get transmission numbers down so we can reopen as soon as possible, safely. It is vital for all Victorians to continue doing the right thing to bring case numbers down so that our businesses can reopen and people can go back to work.

Let’s make this plan one that gives every Victorian hope for the future.

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