Broad and consistent essential services definition is vital

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Media Release

“As we inevitably move towards shutting down parts of our economy to deal with the health threat of coronavirus, it is vital that the designation of essential services is appropriately broad and includes the supply chains necessary to allow those essential services to continue to operate. The definition of essential services also needs to be coordinated on a national basis,” Innes Willox, Chief Executive of the national employer association Ai Group said today.

“Health services, pharmaceuticals and health equipment are clearly essential. As are energy generation and distribution and telecommunications. Food production, goods required for hygiene and sanitisation are critical as is waste collection and disposal. It is no less important that the industries that support the supply and distribution of essential goods and services are able to operate. This includes a range of logistics, manufacturing, maintenance and construction businesses and their supply chains.

“A clear definition of the range of industries and clear and consistent communication across the country are critical. Coordination of the approaches of the Commonwealth and the states and territories is central to both the communications task and to achieving consistency along national supply chains.

“There should also be an ability to adjust the definition of ‘essential’ in the light of experience and emerging circumstances,” Mr Willox said.