Lockdowns now a last resort, says Scott Morrison

By Dean Blake | 02 Jul 2021 View comments

The National Cabinet has agreed that, moving forward, lockdown measures will only be enacted as a “last resort”.

The decision comes after industry leaders hit back at the inconsistent approach to lockdown each state premier puts in place, and how the confusion impacts businesses and consumers alike.

Prime Minster Scott Morrison also unveiled a four-stage plan to get Australia through the Covid-19 pandemic, which he hopes will end with the country returning to business-as-usual life.

“Once we get to a position of the post-vaccination phase, I think we’ll have made a quantum leap in where we are now,” Morrison said.

“We believe we’ll be in a position by the end of the year to have offered everyone a vaccine who seeks to have one. If Australians respond to that, then I believe that we would be in a position to meet a particular target.”

Morrison stopped short of announced a set target date, however, noting that health advisors need more information about the Delta strain before they will commit.

The news came as a relief to ARA chief executive Paul Zahra, who said the roadmap had been a long time coming.

“Lockdowns are not long-term sustainable solutions for businesses when it comes to containing the virus. [It’s] a welcome relief for businesses, who’ve been treated like an on/off light switch whenever new Covid outbreaks occur,” Zahra said.

“Retailers have lost billions in retail trade through almost 50 days of state-imposed lockdowns this year – leaving many small businesses and working Australians exposed without a JobKeeper safety-net.”

Zahra also welcomed the increased focus on vaccination the Government put forward, as they are “now our best weapon” against the spread of the virus.

“Australia has lost its strong Covid health advantage, with most leading economies now much further ahead on vaccine uptake – and that will begin to impact our economic fortunes if we don’t reverse that position,” Zahra said.

“The Australian Retailers Association, through its vast network of retail businesses, stands ready to support the vaccination effort in any way it can.”

This article was first published on Inside Retail.