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Urgent Appeal Made to the NSW and VIC Governments to Prioritise the Supply of RAT’s to Logistics Industry Workers.

As a COVID-conscious business, Avion International takes all steps necessary to keep our staff, clients and community members safe. As a 3PL provider, we took measures to ensure that our customers experienced as few disruptions to services as possible. However, these are unprecedented times, and no industry is safe from the effects of COVID-19 and its variants. At Avion International, we employed extra staff with rotating shifts to accommodate community supply and demand, maintain the integrity of the supply chain, reduce the impact on businesses down the line without compromising on delivery times. Avion International are making great efforts to protect our staff, business and our client’s businesses during the pandemic against incredible odds. We are implementing measures to prevent the spread of the virus, to minimise the impact of delays and business closures while navigating ever-changing restrictions. The situation is constantly evolving, which brings new challenges to every business.

Despite numerous government ‘pathways’ to recovery, the Delta strain and, more recently, the Omicron variant exposed Australia’s over-confidence in past performance and demonstrated a serious lack of insight. Prime Minister Scott Morrison called the initial wave of infections in India a “terrible humanitarian crisis”, and as the death toll skyrocketed, tighter restrictions and lockdowns followed. Unfortunately, the humanitarian crisis continued, and the current situation reaffirms what we already suspected, that COVID has far from finished with us.

Aside from the impact on the human race, on our health and mental wellbeing, there have been severe consequences for businesses worldwide. Just as there have been inconsistencies regarding how to protect ourselves against the virus, there have also been serious inconsistencies in advice regarding how companies are supposed to function in the age of COVID.

The New Year presented Australia with an explosion of Omicron cases in every state and rapid spread in every country around the world; it would appear there’s little hope of escape. However, 2022 also highlighted obvious weaknesses in Australia’s testing capacity, and the scope of weakness was exacerbated by disgraceful evidence of price gouging of Rapid Antigen Tests (RAT’s). This week, the Freight & Trade Alliance (FTA), the Australian Peak Shippers Association (APSA) and the Container Transport Alliance Australia (CTAA) sought answers from the NSW and Victorian governments regarding testing solutions for the industry. Freight forwarders, warehouse operators and drivers are at risk due to the movement of people and the nature of the industry. COVID-related absenteeism in transport workers is responsible for the current disruption of supermarket supply chains. Supermarkets anticipate a short supply of perishables because up to half of all truck drivers are absent due to COVID, either testing positive or being close contacts and in isolation.

Australia’s supply chain is under tremendous pressure with the virus hitching a ride with transport workers placing the entire industry and the public in danger. The FTA, APSA and CTAA, and the Victorian Farmers Federation appealed to the NSW and VIC governments to prioritise the supply of rapid antigen tests for the country’s supply chain workers. Ironically, the federal government removed regular COVID testing requirements for truck drivers yesterday in a bid to ease pressure on the strained testing regime, but Prime Minister Scott Morrisons comments seem to miss the point; in fact, they seem altogether dismissive of the plight of the whole industry.

“The system is under strain because of the high case numbers.”

“But that is the nature of Omicron; you have just got to keep pushing through.”

Avion International supports the free distribution of rapid antigen tests to guarantee a robust supply chain, where food security is assured, and the safety of workers and the entire community is an absolute priority.