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Irish Chamber

Supporting our Victorian members

Tuesday, August 4, 2020

I'm writing this piece from Melbourne, Victoria. Our state has moved to Stage 4 restrictions and has declared a State of Disaster.

Today, another 439 cases were recorded bringing total cases in Victoria to 12,376, and for 11 families, they sadly lost a loved one to the virus. A total of 147 Victorians have now lost their lives to COVID, a fraction of that experienced in Ireland, but very confronting in the Australian context. This is absolutely a health emergency, first and foremost, but also has significant economic impacts for Victoria and for Australia. There are many claims and counter-claims about how we got here, and those enquiries will play out in the fullness of time, but at this point, apportioning blame will not move us forward.

Victoria is responsible for around a quarter of Australia's economy and is critical to many complex supply chains. In some cases, those businesses deemed essential will continue in a modified form, but for many others, they must once again close their doors. Construction is limited to 25% workforce on large projects, while smaller ones can have no more than 5 people on site at any time. Manufacturing will also see restrictions in how they work come into effect this week and discretionary retail will shut down, among a host of other changes. Estimates put the hit to the economy at around $12bn for Q1 and the path back toward recovery relies on Victoria getting the virus under control, while NSW, QLD and the other states and territories not succumbing to substantial caseloads of their own.

It's a sobering picture, a very real threat to health and a substantial challenge to businesses.

But in times of adversity, we help each other, we show support and solidarity. We see this each and every day throughout our fantastic Kindred Network. It could be a simple message in one of our WhatsApp groups, or a quick call to check in. It might be an introduction to a potential customer, supplier or partner. It could be the amazing cameraderie we see in our irrepressible Emerald Leadership Program participants who have embraced the virtual format, or the quiet words of experience and advice from our Mentors. Our support networks have many forms and many impacts, but they all inspire us to do better, to innovate, to adapt and to simply find a way.

And so on that basis, I'd ask you all to stay safe, stay positive, see if there's a Victorian small business you could support, and drop your contacts in Victoria a message in the coming weeks to let them know you're there for them.

Barry Corr, CEO


If you know someone who's struggling with the impacts of Stage 4, we hosted a session on resilience yesterday, which we've made available to all here.

Members can also access several excellent resources from fellow members through our Resource Library (don't forget to log in to view the resources).