“We remain on a living with COVID course that should not be derailed beyond the announced two week pause to the further easing of international border restrictions,” Innes Willox, Chief Executive of the national employer association Ai Group, said today.

"The mindset of state and territory leaders must be on how to stay open, not when to close.

"COVID is in the community, whether it is delta or omicron or whatever the next variant will be, and the states need to get the message that border closures, quarantine hotels and state-wide lockdowns are no longer needed.

"The states have had nearly two years to prepare their health systems so the excuse that they are not ready for an outbreak is becoming increasingly feeble.

"We are already drastically short of skills and pockets of labour shortages are crippling many businesses. Keeping our borders closed longer than necessary, or again walling ourselves off from each other, would only exacerbate the economic and social pain," Mr Willox said.

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