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Covid-19 Industry Update | Advocacy and Industry Recovery

We are requesting that local fashion and textile industry makers and manufacturers be given the same privileges of construction and warehousing workers.

by The AFC

31 August 2021

Even though it is alarming to see the increasing numbers of COVID cases in NSW, the extended restrictions in Victoria, and lockdowns across the nation, it is heartwarming to see our industry collaborating and fighting for its survival as one.
 

You may have already seen the articles in The Australian and on SBS News over the weekend. We are requesting that local fashion and textile industry makers and manufacturers be given the same privileges of construction and warehousing workers and be added to the “Authorised Workers” list and allowed to get back to work.
 

Please see below an update to the initiatives taken since the AFC Industry Forums held on Monday the 2nd of August, and updated on Wednesday 1st September 2021
 
 

NSW GOVERNMENT:
Letters were sent to the NSW Premier and Treasurer “to allow the safe restart of the manufacturing sector” within the fashion and textile industry. While our request was acknowledged and we were told the matter would be addressed with urgency, not surprisingly, due to the increasing COVID cases every day, we have yet to receive a reply to our request.

The AFC Forum was also attended by representatives from the offices of Alex Greenwich MP and City of Sydney Deputy Lord Mayor, Jessica Scully, who have also received our letter and have kindly offered to advocate on our behalf with the Premier and Treasurer.
 

Updated 1 September 2021:
Both Alex Greenwich MP and Deputy Lord Mayor, Jess Scully, wrote to the NSW Premier on our behalf to secure a plan for the Covid-safe reopening of our local manufacturing sector, as well as amplifying this communication through their eDMs and social media. The industry is very grateful for this support.

We have also written a letter to the Minister for Jobs, Investment, Tourism and Western Sydney, The Hon. Stuart Ayres, and the Minister for Finance and Small Business, The Hon. Damien Tudehope. ​​We were assured that Minister Tudehope – and the Government – ‘is focused on getting people back to work and industries opened up in the safest possible way in the shortest time frame possible… and provided [our] correspondence to NSW Treasury for it to be considered once again in light of the ongoing restrictions.’
 
 

FEDERAL GOVERNMENT:
On the 10th of August, the AFC, along with local brand/maker representatives, met with the General Manager of the Federal COVID Response team and other key members of the Department of Industry, Science and Technology (DISER) to discuss the impact of the lockdown on local brands/makers. While our concerns were well noted and appreciated, we were advised to focus our efforts on lobbying State governments, who lead on the local pandemic response, including the definition of “Authorised Workers”. We were also encouraged to clarify, in detail “the full range of COVID-safe practices the industry can apply to minimise transmission risk and ensure safe operation”.
 

MANUFACTURERS’ QUESTIONNAIRE:
Our aim is to emulate the success of the construction industry in adding their workers to the “Authorised Workers” list and allowing workers from the restricted LGAs to exit under strict COVID protocols. The AFC has developed a questionnaire to ascertain the commitment of our industry’s manufacturers and makers towards the adoption of such a protocol. This survey will also help us quantify production capacity and vaccination baseline levels for future reporting. Questionnaires are confidential and will only be used to report on aggregates within the sector.

If you haven’t done so already, please complete the questionnaire here. Please make sure you encourage your manufacturing supply chain to fill this out.
 

Updated 1 September 2021:
Thank you to all the local manufacturers who participated and further validated our request to the government. The questionnaire is now closed.
 
 

WHAT NEXT:
Once we have validated your commitment to the COVID-safe plan, we will be contacting Minister Ayers, Minister for Jobs, Investment, Tourism and Western Sydney, and Minister Tudehope, Minister for Finance and Small Business, stipulating our plans and requesting their immediate attention and advocacy on this matter. We will also continue to advocate with the Federal government on behalf of the industry as well as other State governments where appropriate.
 

WHAT CAN YOU DO:
To be heard, we have to make some noise! We encourage you to contact both your State and Federal Members of Parliament. We have provided a template letter here that you can use. You can find your local MP via the links below.
 

Updated 1 September 2021:
Please send your letters to info@ausfashioncouncil.com. We will collate them and send them as a collective.
 

Find your Federal Member of Parliament here
Find your NSW State MP here
Find your VIC State MP here
Find your WA State MP here
Find your QLD State MP here
Find your SA State MP here
Find your NT State MP here
Find your TAS State MP here
Find your ACT State MP here
 

Updated 1 September 2021:

AFC FEEDBACK
Lastly, your voice is important to us. Please help us improve by letting us know what topics you would like to see covered in AFC forums, what support the AFC can provide and any general feedback - Please enter your valuable feedback here.
 

Stay safe and take care,

The AFC team.

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