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Freight industry given short notice for vaccination mandate

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Evidence of a COVID-19 vaccination will be required by transport workers from New South Wales that have a specified worker permit to carry freight into Victoria.

Operators and their drivers have been given until Thursday, 23 September to have had at least a first jab of an approved vaccine, providing just two weeks’ notice for the cohort of the transport industry to get vaccinated.

Peter Anderson, Victorian Transport Association (VTA) CEO says the government’s two week notice disrespects vital freight industry workers.

“Providing two weeks’ notice for these transport workers to obtain a first vaccination is just not good enough and shows a massive disrespect by the government to the people who provide a vital service to the Victorian community,” Peter says. It provides no recognition of the challenges drivers who regularly travel in and out of COVID hotspots face when it comes to getting vaccinated and even seeking basic medical attention.”

“The Victorian Transport Association anticipated vaccinations would be required for interstate transport workers to enter Victoria last week, outlining a series of steps the Victorian Government should take to help our industry get access to vaccines,” he adds. “These included prioritising road transport workers as essential for vaccination, introducing vaccination hubs at COVID testing sites, truck rest stops and locations drivers frequent while carrying out their work, and rewarding vaccinated drivers with less onerous COVID testing.”

Peter says interstate freight workers have navigated new and changing COVID regulations for over 18 months since the pandemic began including pathology COVID surveillance testing every three days, updating employer letters proving their identity and specific worker permit entitlement, turn backs from medical facilities for vaccines and health checks once their profession has been established.

“There is also the risk such short notice presents of the supply chain disruptions our industry has warned of for weeks,” Peter says. “Consumers in Victoria and around Australia should not be surprised with shortages of fresh food, groceries, medicine and other goods as a direct consequence of insufficient notice of yet another new requirement.”

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