Government meets with business leaders to support vaccine roll-out

Greg Keith
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Today was the first of a series of meetings between the Federal Government and the country’s largest employers – including Qantas, Telstra, Optus, major supermarkets, big four banks and industry groups – regarding the vaccine roll-out.

While the initial conversation was at a very high level, there was wide-spread support from business leaders to both communicate the importance of vaccination to employees and customers, but also provide people and venues to help administer vaccinations.

We have been providing free skin checks and flu shots for our people for years. As an employer who cares for our people we would gladly assist in providing vaccines to those choosing to participate, assuming appropriate indemnities applied.

More than 8.5m vaccinations have been delivered to date, with more detail to come around what percentage of the community needs to be vaccinated before we open up to the rest of the world. The sticking point remains supply with additional Pfizer doses on track to be available from October.

Incentives for vaccinations on the table?

An interesting question from the floor post Treasurer Josh Frydenberg’s update after the meeting today was around how we can support the vaccination roll-out with incentives. While the Treasurer has said they were looking at incentives, it would be further down the track. The Treasurer drew on parallels from the companies in the meeting today for the kinds of incentives that may be on the table:

“I mean, airlines, free frequent flyer points and other benefits for example. I think it is more than a snag at Bunnings that we are talking about as our potential opportunity for incentives but the timing mark of those incentives are very important.”

I fully support exploring how private business can provide incentives which are optional to the recipient. It is a “no lose” option, aligns nicely to culture, and could positively influence the conversation around vaccinations. If it helps more people feel comfortable about the choice to vaccinate – and get more people over the line – then it’s certainly worth exploring.

No detail around next steps. However, Lt Gen John Frewen, tasked with the operational roll-out of the vaccination program, said he will be working closely with the business community to develop a framework on how they can best support through workplace vaccinations.

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