Thousands more people will now be allowed to return to work if they come in close contact with a positive COVID-19 case, with the national cabinet agreeing to expand the number of workers who should be exempt from isolation rules.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the exemption would be extended to cover all those working in transport and freight, not just food distribution.
He added that this would also include all health and support workers, emergency services, teachers and nurses, and energy and waste management workers.
The changes are designed to help alleviate the pressure on the workforce and supply chains that have been under increased pressure as infections have skyrocketed and the number of people sent to isolation. as close contacts increased.
“Today we heard from the Secretary of the Treasury [Steven Kennedy] that we could see up to 10 percent absenteeism in our workforce at any time, ”Mr. Morrison said.
Mr Morrison said the pressure on the workforce would increase if schools did not back down in time, with parents staying at home to care for children.
Queensland and South Australia have both announced plans to delay the start of the school year for most students, while New South Wales and Victoria have said their schools will reopen as scheduled after the holidays. summer.
“If schools don’t open, it can add 5% more absenteeism to the workforce,” Mr. Morrison said.
“It is absolutely essential that schools return safely and remain open safely if we do not see a further worsening of the workforce issues we currently face. “