The Victorian Transport Association (VTA) says it has welcomed the further easing of COVID restrictions in Victoria following an announcement made earlier this week by Health Minister Martin Foley.
The Association is now calling for the vaccination mandate imposed on transport workers to be lifted so it is in line with other jurisdictions around Australia.
“Victoria is now one of only three jurisdictions to retain vaccine mandates for workers, and with transport being a truly national industry, we need consistency in the rules between the states and territories,” Peter Anderson, VTA CEO, says.
“Since mandates were introduced last year, we estimate around seven to 10 per cent of drivers have left the transport industry, which is significant for an industry already facing driver shortages and challenges attracting new drivers to the industry,” he adds.
“We need to make it easier for drivers to enter the transport industry, not harder.”
Peter says the mandates have contributed to supply chain disruptions, which have led to delivery delays and chronic shortages at supermarkets and other retail stores. He adds that removing them would ease the labour pressures operators have been dealing with for months.
“The sooner vaccination mandates in Victoria are removed, the sooner drivers can get back to doing the work they love, and operators can re-employ workers they desperately need,” Peter says.
He also notes the transport industry has worked harder than ever during the pandemic under some of the toughest rules and restrictions.
He says with the transport industry having maintained its social licence to operate, the time has come to start to responsibly ease rules in the workplace.
“From having to get swabbed up to 10 times a month, isolating from family and friends in order to continue working, and observing strict hygiene practices, the transport industry hasn’t skipped a beat keeping Australia moving,” Peter says.
“As we start to move into the next phase of COVID, and with vaccination rates as high as they are, we need a consistent set of rules to start to get our supply chains back to normal.”
For more information on the Victorian Transport Association (VTA), click here.
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