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Employer group warns vaccination scare-mongering could backfire

The nation's peak body of employers, the Ai Group, say state premiers have been too quick to out-do each other locking down their communities, all the while using unproductive, fearmongering language that could backfire on the vaccination uptake.

AiGroup head of communications Tony Melville spoke with FlowNews24 on Tuesday - the interview plays in the FlowNews24 podcast player below. This article continues further below.

The employer association had reservations about the government's plan to compel aged care workers to be vaccinated, with Mr Melville saying state government fear-driven messaging could backfire:

“Whatever you say about the rate, it’s still up to individuals to go out and get it done (get vaccinated).
“You can only, in a workplace, force your workers to get vaccinated if there is a ‘health order’.
“What works is good testing and tracking.
“Using all that scare language to get people to go out and get vaccinated could have the opposite effect.

Chief Executive of the national employer association, Innes Willox said in a statement on Monday afternoon:

"There is a danger that competitive federalism may be becoming a contest over which premier can pull the lockdown trigger first.
“We need to avoid panicked responses and governments need to weigh health and broader advice including on mitigating the harsh economic impacts of tough restrictions and lockdowns.
"Governments also need to be careful of their language and not to needlessly scare people.
“The imposition of restrictions in South Australia without a single case risks being seen as an overreaction.
"Business looks to government for leadership and this should be based on more than health advice.
"The losers in the kneejerk lockdown contest are the community and the businesses that provide goods, services and jobs.”

Mr Melville added:

“We’ve been arguing for many months now that state governments, federal governments, territory governments need to weigh the health and the broader advice, including the impact on the economy when they’re making these decisions.
“They’re trying to outdo each other, to see who can be the toughest on pulling the lockdown-trigger, and who can do it first.
“Locking people is saying (to people) ‘we do not trust you to do the right thing."


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