Businesses seek stability as Queensland approaches vax mandate
HINCHINBROOK MP Nick Dametto is urging the State Government to provide certainty to business owners regarding the COVID-19 restrictions for unvaccinated Queenslanders that will commence on the December 17th.
Mr Dametto said the Palaszczuk Government had lost the confidence of Queensland’s businesses with the planned introduction of new COVID-19 restrictions.
“We have been seeking clarity from the Health Minister’s office in regard to information that will be necessary from small business owners to manage the new restrictions, but it has been returned with radio silence,” he said.
“The State Government has provided very little detail on what the new restrictions come December 17th will look like in practical terms.
“The lack of information and support from the current Labor Government is causing untold stress for business owners.
“The Premier has basically indicated, if business owners have a problem with managing the restrictions for unvaccinated Queenslanders, to just call the Queensland Police Service (QPS).
“QPS is down 1 per cent of their workers because of the mandates, across the State. Officers are constantly tied up in Townsville with youth crime, property crime, assaults and domestic violence call-outs – how will they have the resources to police this?
“Business owners are stretched beyond their means coming into Christmas especially with the reality of some businesses actually losing staff because of the mandates.”
Hinchinbrook Chamber of Commerce Outgoing President Rachael Coco said that Queensland’s peak business body, CCIQ, was already advocating for “incentives” for businesses who would need to enforce new restrictions.
“At the end of the day, small businesses will suffer under these restrictions when they’re forced to turn away customers during a time when they need our support, so they deserve incentives to implement these changes” said Ms Coco.
“It’s also concerning that the new restrictions once again lack clarity – businesses want to be compliant, but the constant changes, inconsistencies and poor communication from Government can make difficult times even more challenging.
“My personal fear is that these restrictions don’t take into account the unique circumstances of regional areas – if businesses have to lay off unvaccinated staff, we don’t exactly have a surplus of skilled jobseekers waiting in the ranks, so businesses in regional areas in the impacted industries will definitely feel the pressure.”
Ms Coco also said that questions about “policing” of the new restrictions was also a hot topic, with many questioning whether QPS had the capacity to monitor all businesses and consumers.
“The penalties are steep for non-compliance, but small businesses can’t afford to employ additional staff members to prevent unvaccinated people from entering their premises and it’s hard to fathom how QPS can be expected to constantly police these regulations” she said.
“Whilst Chamber hasn’t formed an official position on this matter, I personally hope that the TGA’s approval of rapid self-testing kits offer a solution that protects the community without hurting small businesses, staff and consumers.
“I hope that the future holds solution-oriented leadership instead of restrictive legislation that discriminates against certain industries and segregates our community.”
Townsville businessman, and C Bar owner, Allan Pike, said he’d breathed a sigh of relief upon learning a fixed date had been set for the start of the State Government’s mandate.
He said any changes to this date would cause “nuclear” chaos for businesses and called for more advice around the policing of the mandate and whether or not there would be support provided to venues that were required to enforce it.