"Ai Group welcomes the start of dialogue around what it will take to re-open our borders, but business needs more certainty. Our members in WA are losing business opportunities every day that the isolation continues and critical skills shortage are making it increasingly difficult to do business in the state,” Kristian Stratton, the WA Head of the peak employer association said today.
“The WA Government needs to work with industry to find ways to enable business travel and the critical movement of vaccinated staff in and out of WA well before the 80 percent vaccination threshold is reached. Ai Group has proposed that any “Health Pass” that would provide freedoms to the fully vaccinated, including across borders, must be nationally consistent. This would enable industry to operate more freely right now.
“The current loose timeframes and uncertainty of the state government to commit to the removal of border barriers at the 80 percent vaccinated mark pose a major risk to existing business. It risks WA being left yet again economically beholden to the commodity prices for economic success with no Plan B.
“Industry is well adapted to managing health and safety requirements and is well positioned to work with government to find a safe methodology that would start to allow the movement of people for work immediately.
“While the health and wellbeing of the WA community should and always will be the focus of the state government, the ongoing success and growth of the state’s economy should be a priority as well. The closed borders and belief that doing business with or in WA is too hard in the current uncertain times will have major impacts in the longer term on sustainable growth and the diversity of the WA economy.
“We need critical skills and a lift in both domestic and international migration or we risk being left behind and losing key opportunities to other states and countries.
“Zero COVID is patently unachievable in the long run and the sooner this is accepted by all of us in WA the more likely we can avoid becoming the state that was left behind,” Mr Stratton said.
Kristian Stratton – 0407 611 807