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January 12, 2022

Shadow Minister for Small Business, Marie-Clare Boothby, says that business has been shocked to receive notifications that tenders are under threat for not having 100% vaccination of their workers despite adhering to the CHO requirements.

“In some cases businesses have been given seven days, post-Christmas, to make a decision with no good outcome: lose critical staff, even though they are being fully compliant with all CHO Directions, or lose their tender.

“The CHO directions state that:

A worker who is unvaccinated and has no exemption can only work at a place where the worker, during the course of work:

  • is not likely to come into contact with a vulnerable person; and
  • is not likely to come into contact with a person or thing that poses a risk of infection with COVID-19; and
  • is not likely to be exposed to a high risk of infection with COVID-19.

“We’re calling on the Gunner Government to work with business and communicate within the existing CHO Directions, not persecute them based on additional information that is only just being shared now.

“It’s unbelievable that the Labor Government would not consider tenders from businesses that have demonstrated that they have followed the CHO Directions by adhering to the key elements and should not be punished.

“As an example, one business has 95%+ vaccinated staff and worked within the CHO Directions. They have only one unvaccinated person who has no contact with vulnerable people and have modified the employee’s position to retain them whilst continuing to comply with the directions.

“The fact these tender guidelines now conflict with CHO Directions says that the Government doesn’t trust CHO advice. This has placed businesses under unfair and unnecessary pressure.

“How many other businesses are now under similar pressure being notified of this apparent rule change? How many businesses are now stressed and uncertain as to whether or not they will be granted their tenders even though they have followed and adhered to all of the CHO directions and done the right thing?

“To be clear, we want as many Territorians vaccinated as possible, but the procurement guidelines should be aligned with the CHO directions and continue to ensure we protect vulnerable Territorians.

“This is just another example of the Gunner Government’s poor communication and lack of support for business.

“Again, I call on the Labor Government to work with business individually, not persecute with a blanket rule. Let business now do business.

“It’s just not good enough. Territory businesses deserve better.” said Mrs Boothby.

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