small business Health | October 14, 2021

Mandate enforcement another unfair burden for businesses, clubs

Member for Lowan Emma Kealy has called on the Andrews Labor Government to provide urgent clarification and support to businesses, sporting clubs and volunteer organisations regarding the enforcement of the authorised worker vaccination mandate.

People from across the electorate have contacted Ms Kealy’s office in huge numbers since the COVID vaccination mandate – which takes effect on October 15 – was announced with major concerns about the ramifications.

Ms Kealy said businesses and other organisations had been dealt blow after blow during the pandemic, and a lack of clarity and the threat of massive fines if they did not enforce the government’s mandate was yet another heavy burden for them to bear.

“Businesses, service providers and many other organisations are incredibly concerned about the legal ramifications come Friday should they have to make decisions around unvaccinated workers. But instead of supporting businesses and preparing them to handle the added responsibility of enforcing the vaccine mandate, the government has threatened them with fines of up to $110,000 if they don’t comply and left them to figure things out alone,” she said.

“People in our region want to do the right thing, but the government has not provided any clarity for employers who are worried about privacy, unfair dismissal and what unvaccinated workers are entitled to receive.

“Without any sort of legal framework, businesses feel extremely vulnerable to legal action, which is just another source of stress from a government that shows an incredible lack of understanding.”

Ms Kealy said while she could see that the government wanted to push up lagging vaccination rates in areas of Melbourne, the mandate in itself was not a solution.

“Mandating vaccination for all authorised workers with no thought for the wider implications this would trigger, such as workforce shortages and the logistical challenges of enforcing such a mandate, shows a complete lack of respect and understanding from the government,” she said.

“I am fully vaccinated and I encourage everyone to do the same, or at the very least speak to their health professional to see if the vaccine is right for them. But making vaccination mandatory is a knee-jerk response that has caused vast ramifications. It is incumbent on the government to provide support to the businesses and organisations it has tasked with enforcing this direction.”

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