PERTH– The Australian resources sector has pledged to continue protecting priority populations from the spread of the Covid-19 virus, as the government rolls out its national vaccination programme.
A National Resources Sector Position Statement on Covid-19 Vaccinations released today by the Minerals Council of Australia (MCA) and the Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association (Appea) outlines how the sector would support the government’s national vaccine rollout strategy as part of its ongoing work to keep workers, families and communities safe from Covid-19.
“The position statement would help keep the resource sector workforce, families and communities safe and healthy, ensure that the sector does not adversely impact the health of regions and communities in which it operates and assists public health efforts where possible,” said MCA CEO Tania Constable on Tuesday.
“The approach is also aimed at maintaining operations, business continuity and production for the benefit of industry, workers, communities in which the industry operates, energy and fuel security and Australia’s economy.”
She pointed out that Australia’s resources sector has been able to keep operating through the Covid-19 pandemic and keep workers, families and communities safe based on the strong support of governments and the sector’s National Resources Sector Covid-19 Protocols and supporting guidance which the position statement is designed to complement.
The sector has identified workforce sub-groups for priority vaccinations including members of the workforce can be at higher risk of severe illness due to Covid-19, including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employees and contractors, people aged over 50, immune-compromised members and specialists travelling to sites in remote areas.
Site-based medical or paramedical emergency services professionals and workers who are in contact with priority populations and communities and who are also required to undertake domestic or international travel, including those engaged on fly-in fly-out arrangements, would also receive priority vaccinations.
Workers supporting essential services delivery and essential safety workers required for safe site operations and the ongoing ability to operate, would also be first in line for vaccinations.
“The sector recognises that the rollout of vaccines should complement the need for maintaining Covid-safe practices and quarantine arrangements as determined by the Commonwealth, state and territory governments,” Constable said on Tuesday.
The position statement highlights the ability of some resource industry operations to serve as vaccination centres, particularly in remote areas of Australia where there are close links with priority populations and communities.
It also details the importance of a nationally-agreed process for vaccination confirmation, how resources companies will approach workforce vaccination, an ongoing commitment to support workers, families and communities, and proposes certain types of resources workers for priority vaccination.
- [Editor:Catherine Ren]