Currently COVID restrictions are affecting almost half of the Australian population and businesses in those areas are severely impacted. Local businesses have been fortunate in that Port Macquarie and surrounding regions have been relatively free of significant restrictions since mid 2020.
The pathway to ensuring that our businesses don’t have to suffer from restrictions in the future is for everyone to get vaccinated at the earliest opportunity. All business owners should not only get vaccinated themselves but also encourage and facilitate employees to do the same. This may mean allowing them to attend vaccination appointments during work hours.
At this stage no government agency has confirmed what percentage of vaccination is required to put an end to the ongoing and debilitating restrictions we are seeing in Sydney, Melbourne, South Australia and around Orange in regional NSW. The best way for the private sector to take back some control and gain certainty is to aim for everyone who is eligible to get vaccinated at the earliest opportunity. This approach must be on the assumption that Health Authorities will be risk averse and likely adopt a high percentage of vaccination rate before restrictions are eased or ended entirely.
The best source of information regarding the vaccination rollout including eligibility, and relevant data is: www.health.gov.au. In Port Macquarie vaccinations bookings can be made at Port Base Hospital, online at Medical Clinics or local GP offices. It is anticipated that the current trial of vaccinations in regional pharmacies will ultimately include those in the Hastings area.
Council has recently endorsed an “Integrated Strategic Transport Network Plan” listing and prioritising critical major road upgrades over short, medium and long term timeframes. This is a welcome, much needed and proactive initiative that will give all businesses and the community confidence in future infrastructure planning and delivery.
High priority, short term road upgrades are the Pacific Highway/ Oxley Highway interchange, Wrights Road roundabout and Lake Road intersection which are all NSW Government projects in the planning phase. Council has also prioritised its own key projects being the Hastings River Drive and Boundary Street upgrades to complete the all important Airport link. The strategy has also recognised and given priority to establishing a secondary access to the Health and Education Precinct to cater for increased traffic generated by the Base Hospital, medical specialists and Charles Sturt University.
The Council elections are being held in December and many candidates have already nominated and begun their campaigns for the right to represent the community. Business Port Macquarie congratulates those who’ve already nominated and encourages others with a strong vision and desire to see economic progress in our region to put themselves forward as candidates.
Due to the restrictions recently imposed on regional NSW, the Port Macquarie Chamber Business Awards Committee together with sponsor Coastline Credit Union have agreed to postpone the 2021 Coastline Credit Union Greater Port Macquarie Business Awards until November 2021. This is regrettable but necessary and in the best interests of all concerned. More detailed information on the Business Awards Gala event will be published in upcoming Chamber newsletters and local media outlets once the re-scheduled event is confirmed.