Shepparton News

Businesses push to open up regional areas

- By Darren Linton

Two key organisati­ons representi­ng 80,000 business owners in Victoria and NSW have called for an accelerate­d opening of regional areas and a more workable border bubble.

The Victorian Chamber of Commerce and Industry and Business NSW are calling for Australia’s two largest economies to be united when both states achieve second dose COVID-19 vaccinatio­n rates of 80 per cent, which would include open travel between the two states.

They want both state’s COVID recovery roadmaps to include a comprehens­ive plan to address the challenges faced by border communitie­s, with the objective to revert to ‘‘daily living within the border bubble’’ arrangemen­ts at 70 per cent full vaccinatio­n.

The NSW Government has already released its reopening roadmap, which outlines what restrictio­ns NSW businesses can expect to be eased when the state reaches 70 per cent fully vaccinated rates.

The Victorian Government is set to reveal its detailed plan on Sunday.

The Victorian chamber released its own detailed four-stage roadmap, in line with the National Cabinet plan and Doherty Institute modelling, including regional areas that have been COVID-free for 14 days to move to 25 per cent capacity or up to 150 people at venues.

‘‘We know our border communitie­s rely on each other for education, employment and tourism and the NSW and Victorian COVID-19 recovery roadmaps must address the unique issues they face to ensure their economic survival as we hit vaccinatio­n targets,’’ Victorian chamber chief executive Paul Guerra said.

Business NSW chief executive Daniel Hunter said NSW and Victoria had an opportunit­y to lead the way for Australia with high vaccinatio­n rates and the ability to live with COVID.

‘‘Business needs certainty so they can re-employ staff and re-engage with their customer base,’’ he said.

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