The Shopping Centre Council of Australia (SCCA) today reiterated its standing offer to support the vaccine rollout, first made to chief medical officers and state governments earlier in the year.
The SCCA is the national industry group for major shopping centre companies with community centres located across the state’s metropolitan, regional and rural communities. 71% of the population resides within 5km of an SCCA shopping centre, 88% within 20km. The centres are able to supplement health services with the provision of utilities, storage facilities and relevant infrastructure such as vehicle parking and other access requirements.
SCCA Chairman and CEO of Scentre Group, Peter Allen, said: “The shopping centre sector has previously made clear its willingness to partner with governments to support the vaccine rollout, and we reiterate this offer again today”.
The SCCA has held discussions with several States and Territories as the vaccine roll-out as progressed, and some shopping centres already have vaccination clinics.
“Shopping centres provide safe and convenient locations for the community, with approximately nine out of ten people living within a 20km radius of an SCCA owned shopping centre, and over 70% of the population within 5km.”
“As retail is Australia’s largest private sector employer, shopping centres are also substantial employment hubs and could provide a safe vaccination location for retail and other workers at each centre”.
“Our industry has a track record of operating in a COVID-Safe manner, remaining open during the pandemic as an essential activity, and we would welcome the opportunity to discuss the role our sector can play with state and territory governments.”
The National Retail Association (NRA) has also welcomed the opportunity to be part of today’s business roundtable conducted by the Federal Government on how to rollout the vaccine across Australian workplaces.
NRA CEO Dominique Lamb said that as one of the largest employers in the country it was crucial that the Federal Government engage the retail sector.
“Retail comprises the second largest workforce in the country, the sector is well placed to assist in rolling out the vaccine to workers who choose to be inoculated,” she said
“Through our extensive network of members ranging from small, family owned and operated businesses to leading national brands, the NRA has a strong capability to assist in boosting vaccination rates in the sector.” Lamb said.
Australian Retailers Association CEO Paul Zahra said the vaccine rollout is critical to boosting consumer and business confidence and to getting Australia’s COVID recovery back on track.
“Vaccinations are our best weapon to fight the virus and to ensure we avoid COVID lockdowns and restrictions from occurring in the future,” Zahra said. “The Australian retail community stands ready to support vaccination efforts in any way it can, including by allowing more pharmacies to administer jabs through its vast network of chemists throughout the country.”
Only a small number of pharmacies have been given the green light to administer COVID vaccines, but there are thousands more that are suitable and are willing to assist.