Members of the National Cabinet have responded to a letter sent by Pump Industry Australia (PIA) calling for the pump sector to be declared an essential service in all Australian states and territories.
Australian Capital Territory
The response sent from the Chief Minister of the ACT, Andrew Barr, defined what the Cabinet considers non-essential rather than what is essential – of which has since been updated and expanded – and based on this, PIA believes that businesses in the pump sector are not prevented from operating.
To read PIA’s letter to Members containing the Cabinet’s response, click here.
PIA has also received a response from a spokesperson on behalf of the Chief Minister, Michael Gunner. The response read:
On behalf of the Chief Minister, the Hon Michael Gunner MLA, thank you for your email dated Tuesday 24 March 2020 in relation to ‘essential services’ classification for the pump industry during this critical time. (Please note that the letter you refer to was not attached.)
We have a dedicated team working on essential services continuity planning in the event further restrictions are implemented to stop the spread of the virus.
But as of today the message is clear:
- Every job is essential, every business that has employees, everyone who has a job in the Territory is essential, and valued. From our nursing and front line teams, retail and night-fill workers, and those in the transport sector……these jobs are all essential for our economy.
- If you have a service or business and employing staff then keep working.
- If you can support your team to work from home, that’s great and encouraged.
- Make sure you and your team is mindful of their mental health and wellbeing, encourage them to pop outside to get the mail and get some fresh air, talk to a friend – these times are difficult.
- Your workplace must have procedures in place. Everyone must ensure and adhere to good hygiene and especially social distancing – check your meeting rooms and point of sale counters.
- If your job/service requires you to leave the workplace and deliver a service off site, the same rules apply, for both your employees and customers. You may need to consider staff/workers travel in more than one vehicle.
As you are aware, this is a rapidly evolving situation which the NT Government is constantly monitoring, in collaboration with the National Cabinet.
The most accurate and up to date information on COVID-19 in the Northern Territory and the Territory’s response is available at https://coronavirus.nt.gov.au/ or refer to the SecureNT Facebook Page https://www.facebook.com/secureNT/.
Thank you for writing to the Chief Minister regarding this urgent matter.
New South Wales
As it stands, NSW is currently the only state where pump businesses are broadly covered as an essential service in legislation. An essential service is defined as those comprising the supply of goods or services necessary for providing any service under paragraphs (a)-(k) in the Essential Services Act 1988 No 41.
Mitigating risk while maintaining business
While businesses in the sector can continue to operate, PIA recommends companies to put mitigation measures in place to lower the risk of the spread of COVID-19.
The situation is continuing to evolve, so businesses should continue to keep an eye on new developments. PIA and Pump Industry will provide updates as they are announced.