In recent weeks, ACAPMA has been working with Australian Treasury to provide fuel industry input on to the Federal Government’s review of the JobKeeper programme. This work involved provision of direct commentary on behalf of the industry as well as putting ACAPMA members directly in touch with Treasury officials, so that these businesses could provide first-hand information about their experiences with the JobKeeper programme.

ACAPMA also provided some public commentary in the national media last week about difficulties being experienced in securing casual staff apparently caused by the doubling of the ‘dole payment’ – now known as JobSeeker – and the temporary removal of the mutual obligation requirement for JobSeeker recipients to show proof of having applied for employment.

Examples highlighted by ACAPMA included the case of a casual working 20 hours per week at a service station who would receive $30 less than they would on JobSeeker after tax. Someone working four shifts per week would receive just $50 per week after tax compared with them staying at home on JobKeeper.

These issues led to the ACAPMA CEO Mark McKenzie being widely quoted in the national media last week saying that Job Seeker was “a good strategy going into the crisis but clearly not a great strategy coming out of it” (see https://www.news.com.au/national/jobseeker-a-good-strategy-going-into-the-crisis-but-not-coming-out-of-it/video/e26b8a07e16527f484b5442e46dfae12)

Less than 7 days later – as the Federal Treasurer prepares to make an announcement of the future of the JobKeeper Programme on 23 July 2020 – the national conversation has shifted markedly. Discussion about the best policy measures for leading the Australian economy out of the COVID-19 crisis have been replaced by an urgent conversation about how best to deal with a possible second wave in Australia.

“In many ways, the events of the last few days have told us that while the economy may have reopened in recent weeks, business as usual will not resume until such time as we have developed a vaccine for COVID-19”, said ACAPMA CEO Mark McKenzie.

“Essentially, this means that like all Australian businesses, Australian fuel businesses must remain vigilant in terms of complying with COVIDSafe business practices if we are to minimise the economic consequences of a severe stop-go-stop-go impact on our industry”, said Mark.

Early figures from Victoria suggest that daily retail fuel volumes have declined by 7% between 1 July 2020 and 10 July 2020, with much of it having occurred in the 48 hours to 10 July 2020.

“The recent developments in Victoria are a wake-up call for all of us and all ACAPMA members are encouraged to take advantage of ACAPMA’s COVID-19 Awareness Training courses for admin, retail and wholesale, which are free to all members”, said Mark.

ACAPMA members can access this course by simply sending an email to training@acapma.com.au or find more information on the training at; https://acapmag.com.au/2020/05/acapma-covidsafe-plan-and-free-covid-awareness-training-released/.

In addition, the ACAPMA Secretariat has moved back onto a COVID-19 ‘war footing’ and is liaising constantly with relevant state bodies in Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland to ensure that the new restrictions do not impact on fuel businesses more than is absolutely necessary.

“The cross-border permit arrangements for freight movement across the NSW and Victorian Border were a little messy this week but these issues have now largely been resolved. We encourage members to report any ongoing difficulties to ACAPMA so that we can bring them to the attention of the relevant government agency as soon as possible”, added Mark.

The past seven days have demonstrated how quickly things can change in a COVID-19 environment.

“One week we are talking about measures being wound back to encourage people to take up the jobs that are on offer, and the next we are looking at a possible second wave with its consequent adverse health and economic impacts on the Australian population” said Mark.

“The events of the past week demonstrate that the road out of COVID-19 is not going to be straight – it is likely to be one full of blind corners and hairpin bends which will require all of us to be prepared for the unexpected and adhere to COVIDSafe business practices at all times”, concluded Mark.

If your business is experiencing substantial difficulties in navigating COVID-19 realities and regulations, please contact ACAPMA by emailing; communications@acapma.com.au

ACAPMA