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Giving workers clarity to reopen, recover and rebuild sooner

The Victorian Liberal Nationals today announce a new plan to help make Melbourne the world’s most liveable city again by safely allowing the return of workers to the office sooner.

Under the Andrews Labor Government’s current roadmap, at 80% double vaccinated all employees are still encouraged to work from home if they can, but can go to work if double vaccinated.

This mixed messaging is causing confusion for workers and businesses and continues to hold back a return to the office.

The confusion comes at the worst possible time, as the world’s longest lockdown has turned Melbourne’s CBD into a ghost town and robbed local cafes, retailers and small businesses of critical foot traffic.

Whilst Victoria has suffered the most job losses of any state during COVID-19, Victorian public servants have received a $20 per week working from home allowance since March 2020.

Data released under a State Opposition Freedom of Information request revealed over $25 million was paid under the scheme to Victoria’s 36,000 public servants in 2020, with a similar cost expected for 2021 (see attached).

Under the Victorian Liberal Nationals’ Reopen, Recover, Rebuild plan once the National Cabinet’s key 80 per cent double vaccinated threshold is met:

  • Remove the “Work from home if you can” directive for all employees.

  • Review working from home allowance payments for public servants.

  • Remove the requirement for indoor masks in the workplace, except in common-sense areas where social distancing is not possible (such as lifts).

Furthermore, recent data has confirmed Melbourne’s CBD office vacancy rate has hit a 20 year high as Melbourne was the only CBD in the nation to experience negative demand over the six months to July 2021.

Comments attributable to Leader of the Opposition, Matthew Guy:

“As vaccination rates continue to rise, working from home mandates are now holding our recovery back.

“Our common-sense plan will allow staff to safely get back in the office so we can begin to reopen, recover and rebuild sooner.”

Comments attributable to Shadow Minister for Small Business, Jobs & Employment and CBD Recovery, David Southwick:

“Melbourne will never regain its crown as the world’s most liveable city whilst CBD workers are required to work from home.

“Workers and businesses need clarity not confusion. Our plan will get working arrangements back to normal sooner.”

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