AS we roll into a New Year and a new wave of Covid, it’s important to remind ourselves what we have to be thankful for.
I am thankful that we have one of the world’s lowest death rates and thanks to our collective efforts the highest vaccination rates.
I am also thankful that the Australian economy has weathered the storm and remains one of the strongest in the world, despite the head winds created by the pandemic.
As a result, we currently have more people in work, more apprentices in training and a secure credit rating.
While we have much to be thankful for there is no doubt that we have begun 2022 under difficult circumstances.
We all hoped that the beginning of 2022 would herald the chance to move forward, leaving the pandemic and its disruptions behind.
Unfortunately, we have instead begun the year in the midst of the Omicron variant causing major disruptions across the country and indeed across the world.
The Limestone Coast has not been spared from these disruptions.
In fact, Omicron is arguable impacting our region more than previous variants of the virus.
We are also seeing local testing lines grow, businesses close and supply chains disrupted as we follow directions on testing and isolation.
Isolation for close contacts is having a major impact on businesses and supply chains as workers are forced to take leave from work.
While food security has been an immediate concern the impacts of these isolation rules are much wider and should be addressed as such.
With a national double dose vaccination rate in excess of 90 per cent we must transition away from government imposed restrictions and towards personal responsibility and common sense.
Just like other viruses, if you are sick, stay home.
If you test positive or have symptoms of any virus, stay home to avoid the spread.
This should be a decision based on individual common sense and workplace policies not government intervention.
While we ride the wave of the latest variant we must continue to learn to live with the virus and reduce reliance on government imposed restrictions.
The State Government must ease restrictions to support our small businesses.
If not, there must be adequate Government compensation for all businesses forced to close and their employees forced out of work.
While we all want to stay safe, we must balance restrictions with their economic impacts.
We must act to protect not only lives but also livelihoods.
Member for Barker