"As the impacts of COVID-19 on activity and employment ease, it is clearly appropriate and indeed desirable for the variety of individual and business payments put in place in response to the COVID pandemic to be withdrawn," Innes Willox, Chief Executive of the national employer association Ai Group, said today.


"In this context Ai Group welcomes the announcement by the Federal Treasurer Josh Frydenberg that the Federal Government is taking steps to wind back its funding of COVID-related business support measures.


"We do nevertheless urge caution in this as many individuals and businesses are set to experience ongoing hardship even as we cross the 70% and 80% vaccination thresholds.


"It is clear, for example, that there will be ongoing restrictions even after these thresholds are reached. International travel, for example, will remain constrained for some time with clear economic impacts, including for instance for businesses and employees engaged in international tourism and supplying services to airports. Similarly, even with 80 per cent vaccination across a state or territory, it may still make sense for targeted localised lockdowns to be deployed as a means of reducing risks faced by vulnerable people and communities.


"While we support the general direction of the Treasurer's announcement, we recommend that a degree of flexibility be adopted in the withdrawal of payments that reflects the circumstances of individual businesses and level of restrictions faced by their operations," Mr Willox said.


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