Australia Covid live news update: Victoria records 45 new cases; young children to be prioritised in NSW school plan | Australia news

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A survey of senior bosses at businesses employing about a quarter of a million Sydneysiders found that a majority of organisations are in favour of on-site workplace Covid vaccinations to increase uptake, with similarly high support for encouraging businesses to mandate Covid vaccines for their staff.

The Committee for Sydney, in its annual survey of its member organisations across the hospitality, entertainment, construction and university sectors, found that 201 senior leaders from 131 organisations want to see employers taking an active role in driving up vaccine rates, but at the same time are “waiting” for governments to outline their position.

The businesses surveyed by the Committee collectively employ 240,000 people in Sydney and 640,000 across Australia, and found that 88% of organisations want the government to ask major employers to vaccinate their staff on-site, with 76% support for encouraging employers to mandate vaccination of staff.

Vaccine passports are emerging as a popular tool for businesses planning to reopen, with 96% of bosses surveyed supporting the government introducing immunity passports and 91% supporting a vaccination requirement to enter bars, restaurants, shops, public transport, schools and indoor workplaces.

While there is broad support for vaccination requirements to enter certain venues, business leaders appear split on the idea of a population-wide vaccine mandate, with just 55% of organisational leaders supporting a government-enforced requirement for all eligible people to receive a Covid vaccine.

Regarding Covid financial support, 96% of bosses support continued fiscal stimulus, with 97% support for expanded income support – with a mixed response on cash payments or vouchers.

The survey also shed light on how many workplaces will return following the current lockdown in Sydney and other states. Just 21% of bosses plan to encourage their staff to return to the office full time, however just 2% of bosses expect to be fully remote. About 51% of bosses expect workers to permanently return to work for three days a week, while 23% expect it will be four days a week.

Beyond Covid-lockdown related issues, a vast majority of some of Sydney’s biggest employers found a keenness to see the NSW state government invest in social and affordable housing and new infrastructure projects including new Metro lines, bike lanes across Sydney and fast rail to Newcastle as a recovery initiative.

Gabriel Metcalf, chief executive of the Committee for Sydney, said “one of the strongest messages we’ve heard is business leaders are ready to roll up their sleeves and start vaccinating their staff on-site, and even require it of employees – they’re just waiting for government to say the word”.

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