Industry bodies have implored the state and federal governments to provide freight and supply chain workers with immediate access to a COVID-19 vaccine.
Freight & Trade Alliance (FTA), the Australian Peak Shippers Association (APSA) and the Australian Logistics Council (ALC) say a greater sense of urgency is required to protect workers who provide Australian communities with essential goods and services.
There are 600,000 supply chain workers across freight, logistics, warehousing, international trade logistics service providers, importers and exporters.
Many of the sector’s staff have to undergo COVID tests every seven days because they travel between state borders delivering essential items.
The industry bodies listed three reasons why workers need access to the vaccine.
- The essential workers in many cases cannot work from home;
- Supply chain from quayside and airports providing goods to importers and exporters is crucial to supporting Australian communities; and
- Border staff are already in the vaccine rollout, despite working alongside supply chain staff at the same exposure sites.
Rachel Smith, ALC interim CEO, says Victoria’s snap lockdown is even further reason for vaccine inclusion.
“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,” she says.
Paul Zalai, Director of the FTA, says the industry bodies will continue their collective advocacy on the issue.
“We must protect vulnerabilities in the supply chain to ensure our communities’ needs continue to be met with minimal risk to essential workers,” Paul says.