Australian businesses lament government response to staffing crisis

Under more relaxed measures, only workers from some industries are allowed to return straight to work after recording a negative rapid antigen test.
By: | January 18, 2022

Small businesses and unions in Australia have found the government’s response to a staffing crisis caused by the pandemic lacking, which has pushed supply chains to a breaking point and left supermarket shelves empty.

After a national cabinet meeting last week, Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced that workers in certain industries, including transport and food distribution, will be allowed to return straight to work after recording a negative rapid antigen test, according to The Guardian

However, industries like general retail and hospitality have been excluded from this regime. 

The new rules have excluded many industries, which amounted to hundreds of thousands of workers, acknowledged Alexi Boyd, the chief executive of the Council of Small Business Organisations Australia. 

“What we’ve been saying in the last few days is that every business and every small business is essential right now,” Boyd said, reports the publication. 

Some of the businesses excluded from the list are actually part of the supply chain to industries that were included in the regime with relaxed measures, he said. 

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“What we need now is Safe Work Australia to make it abundantly clear what the consequences are for employers, and making sure that what they do meets the requirements of Safe Work,” Boyd added.