Movement of goods across borders must flow, Ai Group says

The Ai Group has urged governments to help reduce cross-border chaos for businesses involved in the movement of goods.

Ai Group CEO Innes Willox told Radio National is it “essential” for governments to act to prevent the economy from quick “atrophy”.

“We have to have continuity around what is happening at our state borders to allow the movement of goods to occur,” he said.

“It is essential to get this right. Businesses are totally confused at the moment trying to figure out what they can and can’t do.”

Willox believes there are a range of measures that governments can consider.

“We’ve made it very clear to government that the assistance for small businesses is good at the moment and appropriate but it’s inevitable that that is going to extend in one way or another to bigger businesses so that they can keep their supply chains alive,” he said.

“We’ve always said the economy is interconnected. It’s crucial that bigger businesses have the supports they need as well.”

Ai Group has been in conversations with the Australian Council of Trade Unions around more flexibility to enable businesses to keep more employees at work.

Measures around the movement of people and goods currently differ from state to state, with some allowing freight to pass, while others are let police officers decide what is essential.

Assistance for local manufacturing should last three to six months to help companies stay in business,” Willox said.

“It is essential that we have measures which are temporary – whether that be for six or twelve months – which are balanced to get us through this. And we are close to that so that cooperation is fantastic.”