Sunday Territorian

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.

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