Clear support for the vaccinated economy, increased numbers of residents to central Geelong and support for workers facing aggression from the community as they check vaccination status are among the key actions arising from a business forum held in September.
Local business advocacy organisations have released a list of key actions arising from a Geelong Small to Medium Enterprise Forum that provided a chance for business to speak directly to government representatives about their experiences and challenges they have dealt with during the pandemic, lockdowns and restrictions.
Hosted by the Committee for Geelong along with the Geelong Chamber of Commerce and Tourism Greater Geelong and The Bellarine, the forum brought all levels of government together with the business community for a candid conversation.
Discussion ranged from the experiences operators have endured to their recommendations for rebuilding the region and hardest hit industries in the coming months and beyond. The objective of the forum was to develop some clear actions to support Small to Medium Enterprise (SME), rebuild confidence and to outline the best ways to give the sector the assurances it needs when planning to invest and employ.
Key actions emerging from the forum included:
- Local support for the Vaccinated Economy approach, including the event hosts leading positive vaccination messaging throughout their networks.
- Significant Government funding to support residential living in Geelong. Population density is critical for CBD retail, hospitality and services as the worker bases is predicted to decrease.
- Urgent programs for businesses on improving COVID safety alongside clear advice regarding their OHS obligations and protections.
- Dedicated focus on dealing with aggression toward front line workers as they implement COVID safety protocols and manage vaccine requirements for patrons.
- Continued financial support for businesses until they can operate at full capacity.
- For events, an insurance scheme for pandemic-enforced cancellations to support organisers to plan with confidence and a manageable level of risk.
These issues will continue to be the primary focus of advocacy efforts for the forum hosts. Whilst the state is reopening and the Roadmap phases are being achieved quickly, it’s critical these issues continue to be top of mind so the pathway out of the pandemic for businesses in Geelong and The Bellarine is robust and prosperous.
Quote attributable to Committee for Geelong CEO, Jennifer Cromarty:
“This forum was a terrific opportunity for us to facilitate a direct line of communication between business and government. The honest conversations acknowledged issues faced to date and, more importantly, shared ideas and forward-looking priorities.”
Quote attributable to Geelong Chamber of Commerce CEO Ben Flynn:
“All participants came together with genuine willingness to participate in finding solutions. The forum was a wonderful way to support the Geelong business community to identify and communicate what they need to get back to business sooner, and stronger.”
Quote attributable to Tourism Greater Geelong and The Bellarine Executive Director, Brett Ince:
“The Vaccinated Economy approach provides appropriate structure for the tourism industry to begin their rebuilding, but it’s critical Small to Medium Enterprises in particular are supported as they adjust to this new way of operating.”
Jennifer Cromarty | Committee for Geelong | 0413 241 033
Ben Flynn | Geelong Chamber of Commerce | 0409 351 919
Brett Ince | Tourism Greater Geelong and The Bellarine | 0409 414 008