Can we trust what we hear?
Can businesses trust the Victorian Government again when they make statements about reopening, health or the economy? The answer we hear from many of our members is an emphatic no.
Members of COSBOA are deeply concerned that there has been a breaking of good faith with the community in respect of the COVID19 re-opening roadmap.
The 14 day community transmission average is below 5 (today the average was announced as 4.6). The roadmap suggested opening from the 26th (i.e. tomorrow) once that average was achieved.
Businesses and people have done the hard yards. The date has been reached. The health criterion has been achieved. But there is no re-opening and this is a breaking of good faith with the community.
We also note that the health capacity developed by the Victorian Government in the last three months has proven to be inadequate.
COSBOA remains disappointed and frustrated with the lack of a proper considered response by the Victorian Government to the COVID crisis.
We have previously congratulated the Victorian Government on getting the cases down from the very high figures from several months ago, but we now ask the question - why did they not use this time to develop a fit-for-purpose capacity to respond to the health crisis?
It is obvious that the Government has not done the work necessary to get the community open again.
The tracing and follow up to positive tests is inadequate and have failed. The northern suburbs outbreak came from a failure to communicate effectively with the community. As a result the whole community will suffer.
The Government has also apparently failed to develop the capacity to manage ‘hot spots’ - an essential capability to be able to live with the virus without totally destroying the economic and social fabric of our communities. Hot spots need rapid response teams as well. Where is the information we need to have some confidence?
The Victorian Government has concentrated on one issue – the important and compelling health issue. Yet they have not been completely successful. They have also shown they believe there are no other issues to be considered. The Government is without concern on the other issues to do with people‘s on-going well being through jobs and business.
The health officers have stated that they cannot open up until they completely understand the situation. Does that mean that the opening will never occur as it is a pandemic that we have never experienced before and it will continue to have many unanswered questions?
We are also frustrated by the confusion and mixed messages. Confused and inadequate communications are not what is needed in a crisis. The Premier holds a press conference every day and has not created confidence or understanding in the business community. There appears to be no understanding of the needs of business or the need to work with the business community to develop safe plans for re-opening. Minister Pulford (Small Business Minister) conducts consultation but we are not convinced that the Premier listens to his Minister on the results of those meetings.
We continue to be extremely disappointed and frustrated by the lack of understanding of the impact on small business people and their employees and customers.
We are also concerned by the characterisation of people in the business community who want more consultation, information and certainty as uncaring and craven. The polarisation of the community from poor consultation is not a good outcome for the future.
The question that continues to be asked is: why was there no modelling on the health impact of the lock down on the community?
The Premier and other decision makers continue 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 continue to be:
Where is the economic plan for Victoria?
Where is the modelling of the health impacts of the lock down?
Where is the state support for the hundreds of thousands of unemployed people in Victoria?
What will be the support for businesses who can restructure and for those that have no choice but to close?
Will businesses be compensated for losses due to the continued mixed messaging?
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?
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.
See information for Victorian businesses HERE.