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‘Loosen the shackles’: Calls for business trips to resume

·2-min read
The departures lounge at Sydney Airport and a woman on a plane wearing a mask.
An employers association is calling for international borders to be opened for business travel (Source: Getty)

The CEO of the national employer association Ai Group is calling on the Government to open up the borders for international travel for work trips.

Innes Willox said the Aussie businesses are falling behind because business leaders aren't able to travel internationally.

“We have now reached the point where governments need to look seriously at more rapidly opening our borders and removing barriers to business travellers and returning Australians," Willox said.

"Employers across the country have put investments on hold for too long. They are losing business opportunities to their overseas competitors whose economies and countries are open for business while Australia is locked tight as a drum.”

Willox said while travel exemptions for business travel are currently available, the strict criteria has created a barrier to doing business in other countries.

"These include the risk of being bounced off return flights when inbound quotas are reached and the costs, stress and indeed risks of hotel quarantine on return,” he said.

"Similarly, businesses looking to bring in experts to advise on technical issues, or to repair specialist equipment and potential customers and investors are being put off for the same reasons.”

Willox said the barriers are removing opportunities, delaying investments, and stifling the ability of businesses to grow and add to domestic employment.

“Businesses in other countries are not facing these barriers and we are putting ourselves at a disadvantage,” Willox said.

Willox has called on the national cabinet to immediately accelerate plans to open Australia’s international border and to:

  • Allow fully vaccinated business travellers the automatic right to depart and return to Australia.

  • Allow fully vaccinated Australian business travellers and business visa holders and returning Australians who pass a COVID-19 rapid test on arrival and at regular intervals after arrival to home quarantine in all states and territories as is being trialled in South Australia.

  • Remove the travel arrival quota for fully vaccinated business travellers and business visa holders and returning Australians.

“Fully vaccinated people are known to be far less likely to spread COVID-19 and, particularly if backed up with rapid testing, it makes sense to take advantage of the opportunities of home quarantining to loosen the shackles of business isolation and to bring back Australians who are queuing to come home,” Willox said.

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