Melbourne, 23 March – Automotive businesses across Victoria remain open – at least for the time being – performing critical services that are keeping motorists and business operators moving.
The Victorian Automobile Chamber of Commerce (VACC), which represents many of the state’s auto businesses, says its members support essential services and are therefore essential themselves.
“Emergency services, such as ambulance, police and fire crews, absolutely require vehicles in which to perform their duties. Along with this are trucks hauling groceries and medical supplies to supermarkets, pharmacies and hospitals. This needs to keep occurring, and the automotive businesses that sell, maintain and service these vehicles need to remain open,” said VACC CEO, Geoff Gwilym.
“If the automotive industry were to shut down, so too would many of the critical services that people rely on for health and safety, and the basics of life, like food and medicine.”
VACC – along with many other organisations – also recognise that Federal and State Governments need to make tough decisions, and are supporting their calls.
The Victorian Premier, Daniel Andrews has announced Step One measures to be imposed in Victoria from 12.00pm today, in order to contain the Coronavirus. The Premier’s announcement focused on limiting people’s attendance at social venues, but at this stage it does not involve automotive.
Businesses and organisations included in the Stage One measures include:
- Pubs, registered and licenced clubs (excluding bottle shops attached to these venues), hotels (excluding accommodation)
- Gyms and indoor sporting venues
- Cinemas, entertainment venues, casinos, and night clubs
- Restaurants and cafes will be restricted to takeaway and/or home delivery
- Religious gatherings, places of worship, weddings or funerals (in enclosed spaces other than very small groups and where the one person per four-square metre rule applies).
There are no fixed timelines attached to lifting these restrictions. Unless automotive members fall into one of the above categories they can continue to operate their businesses, but with all due care taken to maximise social distancing. Where staff can work from home, employers should consider whether this is an option.
“VACC supports the recent decisions of government, but Premier Andrews has not yet stipulated what an essential service actually is. Rather, he has outlined businesses and organisations that are currently classified non-essential. Automotive businesses, such as workshops, body repair businesses and dealerships are performing essential services that organisations and the public rely upon. VACC asks that Premier Andrews acknowledge automotive as an essential service,” said Mr Gwilym.
VACC remains in close contact with its members and, with dedicated in-house industrial relations and workplace safety teams at hand, is well placed to provide the best advice to its members.