Sent: Monday, 7 September 2020 11:58 AM
Like most, ACWA looked on in horror as Premier Daniel Andrews delivered his “Roadmap” out of Coronavirus restrictions yesterday. In effect, there were some crumbs thrown to the general population through the extension of allowed exercise time and a one-hour extension to the night-time curfew. Still, in reality, nothing changed for the State’s struggling business community.
Under conditions released yesterday, existing restrictions for car wash operators will remain until October 26, 2020. Even then, changes will only be made if the 14 day average of COVID-19 daily case numbers falls below 5 (state-wide) AND there are less than 5 cases with an unknown source in the last 14 days (state-wide total).
As you all – as our valued Association members expect of us, we have been actively engaging with the Victorian State Government. While we have been able to establish some traction, most Ministers, including the Premier, are issuing standard responses; “COVID-19 has created an enormous amount of enquiry, and we will get back to you in 6 to 8 weeks“.
ACWA is not alone in its frustration:
- Mr Rob Scott the CEO of Wesfarmers, despite being head of one of Australia’s biggest companies said in today’s Australian Newspaper; “he was unable to speak with the Victorian government to provide feedback to help develop their recovery strategy for businesses”. (Wesfarmers employs about 30,000 people in Bunnings, Kmart, Officeworks and Target stores in Victoria).
- Peak national employer body, Australian Industry Group, accused the government of a lack of consultation and branded the roadmap “a document of despair for industry and their employees”. “We participated in consultations on the plan in good faith, but it is clear the Victorian government has chosen to ignore practical advice about how to now safely reopen workplaces and get the economy moving,” AI Group CEO Innes Willox said.
- Yesterday’s announcement also blindsided the Victorian Chamber of Commerce. Chief Executive of the VCCI, Paul Guerra, an organisation with a seat at the table during “Roadmap” consultations said “We were hoping for a road to recovery. Today we have been delivered a road to nowhere.”
Despite the setbacks to date, ACWA will continue to lobby and fight on behalf of car wash operator members. There is no logical reason for car washing to be impacted by restrictions; our key messages remain:
- Car washing has already suffered an unnecessary and devastating impact from COVID-19 business restrictions, particularly amongst the industry’s small business operators.
- Car washes contribute to community safety and hygiene. We provide an essential public service.
- Car Washes can operate in a COVID Safe Environment, an environment that ensures the safety of staff and customers.
- Car Washing remains an ecological necessity.
We remind members that they can play a role in the political process via their local member. Ring them, email them and knock on their office door if you have to. If you would like assistance with your correspondence please let us know and we will provide key information.
I have called an emergency meeting of ACWA Directors for 9am tomorrow morning and I will keep all members up to date with our progress at this extraordinarily difficult time.