Three peak Australian industry bodies including the Australian Logistics Council (ALC), the Freight and Trade Alliance (FTA) and the Australian Peak Shippers Association (APSA), have written in a letter to the Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack and Minister Greg Hunt calling on the government to provide priority vaccine access for critical high-risk workers in Australia’s supply chain industry.
Australian supply chain workers have been so far largely successful in not contributing to transmitting the disease, however, due to the nature of their work the risk remains for this sector.
As an industry, supply chain workers collectively represent more than 600,000 across freight, logistics, warehousing, international trade logistics service providers, importers and exporters.
Most of the sector’s workers have to undergo mandated COVID tests every 7 days as they are required to travel between state borders delivering essential items to communities.
ALC CEO Kirk Coningham OAM says “It makes logical sense that after the health care sector and the vulnerable are provided the initial roll-out of vaccines, as a government, you would then look to prioritise those workers that are then being tested with high frequency because they are the ones most at risk.”
“Australian supply chain workers are some of the unsung COVID heroes during 2020 and now 2021. They play a critical role in supporting our communities and prioritising their safety to ensure they can continue to deliver is a must once the vaccine is available.” Mr Coningham argued.
Paul Zalai, Director of the FTA and Secretariat of the ASPA echoes the call saying “These essential workers in many cases cannot work from home and are critical to keep the country’s freight moving. They continue to support Australian communities during the on-going crisis and require vaccine protection to do their jobs safely.”
The prioritisation of the health of Australian supply chain workers is critical to prioritising the security of the supply chain and the safety of the Australian people.