Treasurer Josh Frydenberg has held a virtual business roundtable with more than 30 of Australia’s leading CEOs and industry representative groups, to discuss the acceleration of the vaccine rollout across the country.

Companies that participated in the virtual discussion include Coles, Telstra, Wesfarmers, Virgin, Qantas, and the National Retail Association (NRA), among many others. Frydenberg was joined by Covid Vaccine Task Force coordinator, General Frewen, chief medical officer, Professor Paul Kelly and secretary of the Federal Treasury, Dr Steven Kennedy.

“It was an important discussion and continues the strong cooperation we have seen between the Federal Government and the business community from day one of this pandemic,” Frydenberg said in his address at Parliament House on Wednesday.

“Last year, we partnered with the business community to provide rent relief, mortgage relief to millions of Australians, as well as to ensure our supply chains were resilient when states went into lockdown and when the pandemic was at its peak. The support of the business community has been extremely important in Australia’s strong economic recovery,” he continued.

“Our latest cooperation with the business community came as we moved into a new phase of our Covid response; in particular, the acceleration of the vaccine rollout. We discussed how we can cooperate on issues such as transport, logistics, premises, community engagement and communication.

“It was agreed by all members that business will write to all their workers about the importance of being vaccinated and in some cases will be reaching out to the customer base. Wesfarmers raised the opportunities that could be provided at the local Bunnings or Officeworks as premises for vaccinations… the discussion was a positive step and I thank the business community for their active involvement.”

NRA CEO: It’s crucial that the government engages the retail sector

The NRA welcomed the opportunity to be part of the business roundtable as retail is one of the largest employers in the country.

“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,” NRA CEO, Dominique Lamb said.

“Engaging the private sector to assist with rolling out the vaccine across Australian workplaces is an obvious solution and we welcomed the opportunity to put forward views on behalf of retailers.

“Ending lockdowns is the number one priority for NRA members across Australia, but this will only be achieved once we get a significant portion of the population fully vaccinated.

“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.

“We look forward to further engagement on this issue from both the Federal Government and other business groups to get Australia back to normal as quickly as possible.”