Appeal for compliance
THE Northern Territory’s Chamber of Commerce has urged its members to follow directions laid out around the vaccine by the NT’s chief health officer, Hugh Heggie.
Chief Minister Michael Gunner announced in September Dr Heggie would mandate workers in certain fields to have the Covid-19 vaccine, causing considerable debate around public safety versus individual liberty.
The government has also placed pressure on the Opposition to back the move.
In a wide-ranging opinion piece in the Sunday Territorian, Chamber of Commerce NT chief executive Greg Ireland has argued workers having the Covid-19 vaccine will help protect customers and, therefore, business.
“Chamber of Commerce NT has been actively engaged in discussions with NT government representatives, other peak bodies and our chamber members, as we determine an appropriate response,” Mr Ireland said.
“(Is mandating the vaccine) legal, is it ethical, is it practical – and who matters most?
“If workers are vaccinated there is up to 90 per cent less chance of contracting and therefore spreading
Covid-19 through the workplace, and more opportunity for the business to keep operating.”
He also raised concerns about whether businesses could be the target of litigation from employees who refused to take the vaccine.
“As the peak body with the Northern Territory’s largest number of employers as members, Chamber NT can’t direct you what to do,” he said.
“We can, however, provide relevant information so that you can make an informed decision over what you want to ask your workers to do, particularly if you operate in a high-risk environment.”
Mr Ireland vowed the Chamber of Commerce would continue to seek further clarity from the government over how the NT’s opening up would work, to ensure businesses have “confidence to continue to evolve in these uncertain times”. But he also urged operators to continue being agile and adapting in the face of change.
Under the reopening plans unveiled by the Chief Minister, any employees who interact with vulnerable people are required to receive the Covid-19 vaccine. Health data from Friday showed 262,832 jabs had been administered in the NT.