COSBOA statement on Victorian lock down announcement 18 October 2020
COSBOA is disappointed at the announcements from the Victorian Premier on the future of the lock downs in Victoria.
Firstly, we congratulate the Government on getting the cases down from the very high figures from several months ago. We are also pleased to finally see the announcement of opening dates for businesses.
We are extremely disappointed by the lack of understanding of the impact on small business people and their employees and customers. This could have been managed with the same health outcome and also better economic outcomes.
During the press conference mention was made that Victoria should have a COVID-normal 2021. If normal means having hundreds of thousands of unemployed people, then it is a normal that we do not want.
The Premier and other decision makers obviously have no experience with business. They seem to think that a business owner will just turn the key to their business and things will start as they did before while magically being COVID safe.
The questions are:
Where is the economic plan for Victoria?
Where is the consultation with the business community?
Where is the modelling of the health impacts of the lock down?
Why does the Victorian Government treat its citizens so different from other Australians? Why can’t they be trusted?
Where are the published plans for COVID response teams and the way hot spots will be managed?
Why can’t business people go into their business and clean it and prepare for opening? (Edit: they have now announced that this will be possible. It wasn't an option for hairdressers, however, who were given one day's notice of reopening).
The lack of focus on jobs and the economy shows the lack of awareness of how communities and an economy works. The lack of consultation with the business community shows an arrogance and hubris that will create damage, not create solutions.
Other states, particularly NSW, have managed the health crisis and the economy - including continuous comprehensive consultation as a part of the planning. Why can’t Victoria do that as well? It appears that the Premier and others understand health but nothing else. Or perhaps they see the economy as a federal issue and not important for the Victorian Government to consider?
Also, the lack of modelling of the health impacts of the lock down shows they might not understand health either.
One very good announcement made some time ago was funding of mental health support for the self-employed. We have not seen any action on this issue. Yet we still see the needs of the self-employed ignored.
Show us the economic plan. Show us the plans for managing hot spots and show us the approach to contact tracing. Include the business community in the planning and the process. Then we can have some type of certainty in uncertain times.
Peter Strong CEO