Holly Stearnes – Ticker News
In Australia, in Western Australia, we’ve just had a snap lockdown there. These can just come out of the blue, right? And businesses, how can they actually be prepared for this kind of thing? No. And then on the other flip side of it, they snap lockdowns are they the answer to this?
Bill Lang – Small Business Australia
Yeah, look, I think it’s very challenging for many Australian businesses. And, you know, we’ve just had the Anzac Day, you know, four day, three day lockdown over there in Western Australia. You know, it’s impacted lots of people, hospitality businesses that are already gone and bought their food that we’re relying on was going to be a big long weekend, etc. It’s very difficult to determine how can you prepare for it unless there’s clear guidelines from the government’s on what basis they will do it.
The second thing that governments could be doing themselves is saying, look, if we’re going to do it at short, notice, you’re going to be compensated. So don’t be as concerned about the fact you’ve just bought all of that stock, or you’ve got to pay these staff and they’re not actually going to work. So there’s a big role for government to play in this.
And until we get some more clarity, it’s going to be very difficult for many business owners, that sort of feel like they’ve got that hanging over their head, should we be going to lockdowns? You know, there’s a real virus of fear that’s been caught by the premiers. And they’ve seen it being pretty popular in terms of recent elections. And they go into that your contact tracing is much better, until they do some contract tracing. And they’re talking about different variants, and all of these sorts of things.
Again, it’s all getting blown out of proportion, we need some calmer heads to prevail from that perspective, so people can maintain some calmness. And look, for every business owner and for every Australian adult like that, we pretty much know what to do.
At Small Business Australia, we talk about now, you know, Face, Space and Grace. You know, so if you’re too close to people, of course, you know, face coverings, so you don’t give it to anybody who may have it, you don’t know you’ve got it. Space, you know, keeping a little bit of space, and then grace, calmness, being kind to people, reducing the level of fear and anxiety.
Absolutely. I mean, what’s your opinion to this? I mean, in Victoria, we obviously were in disaster for ages there. And we know that you saw at firsthand how disastrous it was for 1000s of businesses here in Victoria. But that was almost because there was a lack of urgency when it came to our lockdowns, we sort of strung it out here, and then we didn’t deal with it and quickly enough. So what’s your opinion there? Maybe these snap lockdowns? Are better to nip it in the bud? Or not? Or do you think not at all?
Well, I think without and seeing actually the all the information in which the government’s gone and got health advice, and then made decisions, it’s very difficult to say, for any of the citizens or any of the small business owners, it can just be mere opinion. So I think some more transparency and openness with the facts, so we have a better understanding on how is this advice put together? When’s it put together? Like I was talking with WA radio only yesterday and they found that there are 50 people involved in contact tracing over in Western Australia as opposed to a couple of 1000 in a place like Victoria. So you know, only history will tell us if the full information is made available around how decisions were made and why they were made. But at the end of the day, you know that our political leaders have been voted in and they have to exercise judgement and we can’t lock the country away from the rest of the world forever. Until there is a global solution, it’s never going to be going away. And at the moment very much Australia’s almost returned to its colony roots, like that the premiers are in charge, they used to be the governors of the colonies. You know, the convicts were sent out you did exactly what you were told and to a degree now many of us appear to be just accepting that they do know best, yet they don’t explain in full detail how the decisions are being made.