Townsville Bulletin

Clear mandate sought on vax protocol COMPLEX ISSUES NEED RESOLUTION


THE unstable landscape around mandating vaccines has put Australian business under further pressure.

With no consistent national guidelines, the logistics mean that multiple industries have now taken a leadership role in setting and managing protocols during the ongoing public health emergency.

Associate Professor at the UNSW Business School Tracy Wilcox said that while employers were always balancing multiple risks, Australia’s federated structure had made vaccinatio­n decisions “incredibly complex for businesses”.

“Not having some clear guidelines from the federal government has not really helped businesses,” Dr Wilcox said. “If you think of a supermarke­t retailer or a logistics company that is operating across borders all the time, the complexity makes it really difficult for them.”

Without the protection of public health orders, businesses currently risk potential liability in Workplace Health and Safety claims.

“The bigger risk in terms of liability is … that one employee gives another employee Covid-19,” Dr Wilcox said.

“The chances of that happening are far greater than the chances of someone getting a reaction to a vaccine.”

Weighing up harms meant balancing rights, responsibi­lities and the limit of freedoms, she said.

“We have to think about, what’s the greater good and what impact does this freedom have on other people’s wellbeing?” Dr Wilcox said.

The federal government mandate for health and aged care workers gave considerat­ion to such factors, but the Morrison government has resisted calls to give direction across other public sectors and commercial industries.

“We are aware that some states and territorie­s have now issued public health orders which require Covid vaccinatio­n for people working in other high-risk workplaces. This is a matter for them,” a federal government spokespers­on said.

State government-issued mandates include the NSW government’s vaccinatio­n requiremen­t for all its school workers by November 8 – a decision that was “based on health advice”, according to a NSW Department of Education spokespers­on.

“This means that all adults who work on school sites and childcare centres, including volunteers and contractor­s, will need to be fully vaccinated with an approved Covid-19 vaccinatio­n unless they are medically exempt from having one,” the spokespers­on said.

The chief executive of the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Andrew Mckellar, said while the NSW example “seems to be heading in the right direction”, there are a range of compliance and regulatory issues that need to be managed across the country.

“The issue here is there needs to be some national coordinati­on of this,” Mr McKellar said. “I do think there is a role for the federal government to take a leadership position in this, to really be pushing the states to work together (and) provide certainty where it can.”

Mr Mckellar said the business community sought clarity in the area of mandating during an August meeting between the Attorney-gen- y

“SNAP is proud to join forces with the Call to Arms initiative through the e launch of SNAP’S ‘Vaxxed xed for Freedom’ campaign, ign, which encourages s people and businesses to show their r eral and a number of business groups.

After lobbying the federal government to “step up and provide some clarity in that area, they really pushed back on it,” Mr Mckellar said.

“They made it very clear that they had no appetite to do that, and I think it is leaving a vacuum. That’s the problem.”

As one of Australia’s major businesses most adversely affected by the pandemic, a Qantas employee vaccinatio­n survey revealed overwhelmi­ng support for the airline’s mandate: 89 per cent of employees had already been vaccinated or were planning to be, and around three quarters said it should be a requiremen­t for employment.

Stood down for 11 of the past 18 months, Qantas pilot Richard Grady said vaccinatio­n was nothing new – he required a yellow fever shot when he started flying 20

support for fo vaccinatio­n. As part of this campaign, camp we have available through the SNAP website the Vaxxed Vaxxe for Freedom iconic Vtick Vtic pins and all that businesses nes will need to return to business bu by way of signage to let their customers know years ago. Furthermor­e, staff viewed its availabili­ty “with optimism – they want to embrace it”, he said

“Qantas has had a safety culture and a culture of managing risk for 100 years,” Mr Grady said.

The impact of the pandemic on their “Brady Bunch” family has been so extreme that his wife Renae – a stewardess with Alaska Airlines – cried getting her second jab.

“My wife has two kids from a previous marriage, I have one and we have an eightyear-old, so we’ve got 15, 12, 11 and eight … split between the US and Australia,” Mr Grady said, adding: “It has been a pretty trying 18 months.”

“To have the (vaccine) availabili­ty – honestly, you see some poor countries and I actually feel quite privileged.

“I don’t really view it as such an individual issue either … I feel like it’s a community thing.”

that they are open and safe. e. SNAP will be donating a porortion of the sale of products ts to the United Nations-supported ported charity COVAX to help get the whole world vaccinated.”

Richard Thame – CEO, SNAP Franchisin­g Limited

 ?? ?? Qantas pilot Richard Grady with his wife Renae Grady. Picture: Damian Shaw
Qantas pilot Richard Grady with his wife Renae Grady. Picture: Damian Shaw
 ?? ??
 ?? ??
 ?? ??

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia