Worker at port

Ports Australia is calling for the Federal Government to recognise ports and their personnel as essential services across all Australian states, as the government is starting to close down non-essential services around the country in an effort to combat coronavirus.

Ports Australia has been in discussion with the Federal Government about the best way to approach the situation, in order to achieve the best outcome for the safety of port staff and livelihood of Australia.

As the necessary safety measures ramp up around the nation, Ports Australia said that their essential services keep Australia running with medical staff, emergency services or supermarkets. 

Ports Australia maintains that its supply chains are critical to ensure fuel, food and other much needed essential commodities around the nation, making it imperative that ports stay open and their personnel allowed to keep working.

The organisation has said that while the global climate is still in flux, it’s now seeing encouraging signs coming from overseas where the numbers of shipping containers full of goods are starting to show early signs of recovery, but these improvements must be matched with the appropriate workforce inside the port-gate ready to do the job. 

The consideration of how critical supply chain staff are able to travel to and from their job and perform their regular duties in a way that is safe and hygienic but not disruptive to the provision of supplying the nation, is of the utmost importance, according to Ports Australia

Recognition as an essential service would allow workers to get to their job quickly and safely, while having greater access to the relevant Personal Protective Equipment.

Ports Australia CEO, Mike Gallacher, said the importance of this consideration could not be stressed enough.

“It’s great to see sectors coming together at a time where unity is paramount. Ports are no different – we’ve got a constant stream of dialogue running between our member ports and government officials,” Mr Gallacher said.

“On behalf of Ports Australia, I’d like to encourage the government to expedite their consideration of this determination as time is critical. 

“The government response measures are expanding every day as the likelihood of limiting the movement of people throughout the community grows ever closer. 

“From ships arriving to unload at our ports, right through to trucks delivering much needed food and goods to the people stacking shelves at retail shops, an unbroken supply chain is critical for community confidence at this time.”

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