Show us a solid plan to reopening and recovery.
That’s the predominant message from the chief executives of dozens of Australia’s biggest companies, including all of the Big Four banks, Coles, Woolworths, Telstra, Optus, and many more who are demanding all levels of government “chart a path out of the current lockdowns”.
In an open letter released today, the company chiefs called for governments to work together with businesses to “implement” a concrete national plan.
“Providing a light at the end of the tunnel will encourage more Australians to get vaccinated,” the open letter stated.
“We need to give people something to hope for, something to look forward to, something to plan around, and to be confident about their futures.”
Learn from other countries and ‘live with the virus’
The business leaders said they had witnessed the impact of lockdowns on their employees, suppliers, and communities, with the nation “juggling a mental health emergency” as well as the pandemic.
“Some of the impacts of current lockdowns are hidden, and the effects will be long lasting,” the letter stated.
With vaccination rates rising every day, Australia will need to model itself on other nations that have learnt to ‘live with the virus’.
Nearly all restrictions have been lifted in England, while vaccinated Germans are able to dine at restaurants, attend events, have parties or do indoor sports. Even Singapore, which up until recently also had a ‘COVID-zero approach’, are planning to ease some restrictions once 80 per cent of its population are double-jabbed.
The National Cabinet has signalled that we will be waving goodbye to lockdowns once 70 per cent of the population have been vaccinated, with still more restrictions eased at 80 per cent.
Once we hit the 70 per cent target, we can move onto Phase B, which means eased restrictions and different quarantine arrangements for vaccinated Aussies, and maybe a vaccine booster program.
“I don’t know what we’re waiting for,” she told ABC this morning. “If we’re 75 per cent vaccinated, we should be experimenting and getting Australia open.”
“We need to stay the course,” the letter stated.
“Businesses will continue to do whatever we can to support our people to get vaccinated and to provide a safe environment for our customers and the community, including the prioritisation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities as originally intended.”
However, think tank Grattan Institute experts have criticised the National Cabinet’s plan for being too thin on important details.
“The key planks of the logistics, messaging, and incentive campaigns need to be in place very soon if we are going to substantially increase the pace of the rollout as more Pfizer doses arrive in coming months,” Grattan Institute experts wrote in a recent piece for .
The open letter comes as Australia readies itself for highly-anticipated GDP figures, which will be released by 11:30am, and will signal whether a second recession in as many years is on the cards.