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Federal Government announces support materials for creation of ‘COVIDSafe’ workplaces

Federal Government announces support materials for creation of ‘COVIDSafe’ workplaces
May 5, 2020

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has today announced the development and impending release of support materials and toolkits that will aid businesses in navigating requirements to establish ‘COVIDSafe’ workplaces.

Speaking following a national cabinet meeting, Prime Minister Morrison advised that as restrictions are eased and businesses look to reconnect with their staff and customers, the resources, to be made available via Safe Work Australia, will support the reanimation of the nation’s economy.

Seeing the potential of these resources as welcome relief to the tourism, events and hospitality sector, Victoria Tourism Industry Council (VTIC) Chief Executive, Felicia Mariani stated “it’s relieving to see that the (Federal) Government is taking steps that will support the reactivation of the nation’s tourism industry, a sector that by all indicators has been one of the worst hit under the weight of the current restrictions.

“There have been over 708,000 jobs lost (in Victoria) since restrictions were implemented in mid-March, and 441,000 of those jobs have been in the hospitality, Accommodation and food services area; with a further 146,000 in the retail sector. The Prime Minister has rightfully acknowledged that the services sector has been decimated in the current shutdown and the implications to the supply chain down the line have been subsequently impacted also.

“The resources that are being made available via the Safe Work Australia website will be vital in supporting our industry to understand obligations in reactivating their businesses with regard to social distancing requirements, hygiene, cleaning and use of personal protection equipment.

“This has been the primary concern for our sector in wanting to be crystal clear on new operating requirements as they look to reengage with their staff and customers.”

Following speculation that Australia and New Zealand might reopen their respective borders as part of an Australasian ‘bubble’/trans-Tasman travel zone, and New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern having joined in with part of the nation cabinet meeting, Prime Minister Morrison advised that the initial focus is on reopening state borders.

Prime Minister Morrison said a "safe travel zone" with New Zealand had been discussed in recent weeks but it was "some time away", but added that he expected New Zealand would be the first country Australia would open its borders to.

Prime Minister Morrison explained “at some point, both Australia and New Zealand will start connecting with the rest of the world again.

"The most obvious place for that to start is between Australia and New Zealand but that's not something that's about to start next week."

The national cabinet will meet again on Friday, when it is expected to ease some of the Coronavirus-induced restrictions across Australia.

Prime Ministers Ardern and Morrison issued a joint statement after National Cabinet, in which the leaders committed to establishing a travel zone "as soon as it is safe to do so".

The statement advised “a trans-Tasman COVID-safe travel zone would be mutually beneficial, assisting our trade and economic recovery, helping kick-start the tourism and transport sectors, enhancing sporting contacts, and reuniting families and friends.

"We need to be cautious as we progress this initiative.

"Neither country wants to see the virus rebound so it's essential any such travel zone is safe."

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