Alternative energy

ACCI calls for consistent guidelines as COVID cases surge

The Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI) is calling for the national cabinet to establish clear and nationally consistent guidelines on how to manage the re-entry of close contacts back into the workplace at tomorrow’s meeting.

13 January 2022

“The message from our members is clear – staff shortages are one of the biggest issues facing our country at the moment. National cabinet should take action by extending the current critical workers close contact protocols to all workers as soon as the availability of Rapid Antigen Testing (RAT) makes this possible.” ACCI Chief Executive Andrew McKellar said.

The national protocol enables close contacts with no symptoms and a negative rapid test to return to work earlier than seven days from their last contact with a COVID case through frequent rapid testing.

“It’s important that the close contact protocols do not become more and more complicated with an ever-expanding list of essential and critical services workers. The common sense and efficient option is to extend these protocols to all workers,” Mr McKellar said.

“Without changes to close contact protocols, mass staffing shortages will continue to be a huge roadblock in Australia’s economic recovery.

“Since September, we have been calling for rapid antigen tests to be made freely and widely available. RATs are a valuable tool to help ensure safe and healthy workplaces.

“Following briefings today, the government needs to be transparent on the supply of RATs so that all businesses, not just those on the essential services list, can access them.

“National cabinet also needs to give immediate consideration to targeted and temporary emergency pandemic support to businesses who are doing it tough and in many cases are struggling or not able to open their doors.

“Additionally, national cabinet must commence work on a longer-term solution to business support when government restrictions and disaster and pandemic impacts that are beyond the control of business have significant impacts.”

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