News 31 July 2020

Chief Executive Update 31 July

Victorians must work together to come out of COVID-19 stronger.

I read a great tweet last week by my former boss who went on to become President Obama’s Health Advisor, and I think it sums up Victoria’s current situation quite well: ‘It’s easy to spot people who want the economy to open the fastest; they’re the ones wearing a mask.’

To this point, with the alarming news yesterday of a record spike in case numbers and the death rate continuing to rise, the announcement by the Premier that from Sunday 2 August at 11:59pm a face covering will now be mandatory for Victorians across the state, was no surprise.

Restrictions on the local government areas of Colac-Otway, Greater Geelong, Surf Coast, Moorabool, Golden Plains, and the Borough of Queenscliffe were also reinforced, with members of these communities no longer able to visit people or have visitors in their homes.

As the Premier stated, these are two high-impact, low-cost measures when it comes to jobs and livelihoods and will have a significant impact on keeping numbers low in our regions and protecting public health.

In response to the devastating case and mortality figures associated with COVID-19, yesterday, the Victorian Chamber joined forces with Victorian Trades Hall Council and Australian Industry Group (Victoria), to send a strong message to all workers to do the right thing: stay at home if you’re sick and wear a mask when you leave home.

We must work together to ensure that Victoria comes out of this stronger. We urge members to make sure that staff are not attending work if there’s a risk of infection and to access the Government assistance available: including a $300 payment, accessible for workers that have been tested for COVID-19 and are awaiting results, and a further $1500 payment for workers that have been directed to quarantine/self-isolate as a result of receiving a positive test result. Impacted staff can call the COVID-19 hotline on 1800 675 398 to apply.

In a Herald Sun article today, it was reported that Victorian employers could be jailed for up to 20 years and fined $16.5 million if their staff contract coronavirus at work and die as a result. Workplace Safety Minister Jill Hennessy said employers could be charged under Victoria’s newly introduced industrial manslaughter laws.

While the threat of prosecution under Victoria’s manslaughter laws is not new, we know that many members will be very concerned about this threat. Workplace transmission is one of the biggest challenges in Victoria, with many cases being traced to staff attending work while infected. It’s not the news Victorian businesses need right now given how much of a struggle it is. We ask businesses to be alert to the risk and ensure you have appropriate COVID plans in place.

We all need to get this outbreak under control, and the only way we are going to do that is by following the rules. This means wearing a mask, staying home when you are unwell, getting tested and waiting until you get a negative result before leaving isolation, and if you are well, only leaving home for the four essential reasons. The rules are clear and they will save lives. Our businesses, livelihoods, families and communities all depend on each of us – business owners and staff – playing our part.

This week I met with Victorian Treasurer Tim Pallas to present evidence from members on the impacts of lockdowns, and to discuss the health and economic crises. I’m pleased to say that the economic plan, which we have been calling for, is advancing and will be published soon.

Yesterday, we were delighted to be joined by special guest the Hon. Jacinta Allan MP, Leader of the House and Minister for the Coordination of Transport – COVID-19, Minister for Transport Infrastructure and Minister for the Suburban Rail Loop, to discuss how the State Government is managing the crisis.

It was great to hear Minister Allan discuss the Andrews Government’s overall priorities and recovery plans for the second wave of the virus, and what is being done to protect and support jobs.

A big thank you to Minister Allan for joining us and for providing valuable insights to members of the business community in a time where clarity and certainty is paramount.

On a final note, at the end of the day, it’s clear that Victorians must get the health crisis under control and work together to contain the spread of the virus before we can reopen businesses and local economies.

We hit a new record this week with 723 cases in a single day; let’s hope we don’t set any new records in the days and weeks ahead.

In the name of public health safety and looking after those most vulnerable, it’s up to all of us to follow the rules and adhere to the advice of the Chief Health Officer. We urge all Victorians to do the right thing and work with us in the fight against COVID-19.

I wish you all a safe and good week ahead.

COVID-19 Employer Guide to Face Masks

The State Government has determined that all Victorians must wear face masks outside of their homes at all times, as well as maintaining 1.5 metres of distance from others. Ensure you are doing the right thing by yourself and your employees by downloading our Employer Guide: Managing safety in the workplace during COVID-19 - face masks.

Victorian Chamber presents: The Business of Footy webinar event

Join us on Thursday 20 August for our upcoming webinar event, Victorian Chamber presents The Business of Footy. Hear from three successful, high-profile Australian Football League (AFL) Executives: Chief Financial Officer and General Manager of Clubs and Broadcasting, Travis Auld; General Manager - Football Operations, Steve Hocking; and General Manager - Commercial, Kylie Rogers.

Travis, Steve and Kylie will share with us how the AFL has managed the challenges and changes during the Covid-19 crisis, and how they are continuing to adapt the business and reanimate the game.

Find out more information and register today.


If you know of a business that is not already a member, please encourage them to take advantage of our 12-month membership waiver for any new entry level membership. 


MCC Contact

Get in touch with the Melbourne Chamber of Commerce

03 8662 5214


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