“The national economic impact of today’s draconian measures in Victoria will devastate the livelihoods of millions in the State,” Innes Willox, Chief Executive of the national employer association Ai Group, said today.
“Closing or restricting large swathes of manufacturing and construction as well as their supply chains brings the hammer down on sectors that have been responsible for relatively little transmission, which have followed strict COVID-safe plans and are vital to the community and the country’s economic well-being.
“Many Victorian businesses operate and supply goods and services across borders and the restrictions on well over 20 percent of Australia’s economic activity will have massive flow-on implications across the nation. Many businesses will struggle to reopen after the minimum six weeks of these restrictions and closures. The future of their employees is now uncertain.
“These are conscious decisions made by the state government for a deliberate health purpose. As we have long argued, health is paramount, but proportionality is also important. Some people may never work again and some businesses will now be gone forever.
“On the positive side, the Government has made strong efforts to keep certain businesses open, even though under restricted conditions. This will obviously still impact their production levels and staffing capacity,” Mr Willox said.
The Head of Ai Group in Victoria, Tim Piper, said: “The total Victorian supply chain has not been fully considered in the structure of these restrictions. Companies such as metal fabricators which support the food sector, health and related activities have been told to close. While there are some narrow exceptions there has been no recognition of how interconnected these businesses are.
“The gaps in the supply chain created by these closures and restrictions will inevitably be met by interstate companies. This may numb some of the national implications but will be cold comfort for businesses and their Victorian employees if customers are lost permanently.
“The Government has said it will consider tweaks to today’s plan. They should remain open to addressing any inconsistencies and amend or remove the restrictions accordingly. The Government also plans to keep freight routes open and this is particularly important given the ramp up in supply expected from other states,” Mr Piper said.