THE Australian Logistics Council, the Freight & Trade Alliance and the Australian Peak Shippers Association, have called on state and federal governments to recognise the criticality of freight and supply chain workers, providing them immediate access to the COVID-19 vaccine.
This comes after writing collectively to the Deputy Prime Minister, Michael McCormack and Federal Minister for Health, Greg Hunt outlining the sense of urgency required to protect workers that provide Australian communities with essential goods and services.
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 seven days as they are required to travel between state borders delivering essential items to communities.
ALC Interim CEO Rachel Smith said, “It is imperative high-risk supply chain workers are immediately included in the vaccination rollout, particularly as we see more frequent snap lock-downs.
“These workers are tested with high frequency due to the nature of their work, which makes these essential workers an obvious early inclusion in the vaccine rollout as they are most at risk.”
Paul Zalai, director of the FTA and secretariat of the ASPA said, “The supply chain is critical in providing essential services and goods, especially highlighted by COVID.
“We must protect vulnerabilities in the supply chain to ensure our communities’ needs continue to be met with minimal risk to essential workers.”
The associations have provided the following rationale for granting immediate access to the COVID vaccine for freight and supply chain workers:
- These essential workers in many cases cannot work from home and are critical to keep the country’s freight moving and the economy buoyant.
- Supply chain from quayside and airports providing goods to importers and exporters was recognised to be crucial to supplying Australian communities.
- Border staff already are included in the vaccination rollout, however supply chain workers are not, despite working alongside each other and at the same exposure sites.