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Government, unions and employers to come together for coronavirus talks

Media Release

Attorney-General and Minister for Industrial relations, Christian Porter, will meet with union and employer representatives in Sydney on Tuesday to enlist their support and cooperation as Australia prepares for the impacts of coronavirus.

The forum will be an opportunity to discuss issues such as work health and safety practices, employment arrangements and ways to ensure businesses can keep their doors open.

"Coronavirus represents a significant health and economic challenge and it is absolutely critical that Australians pull together to help manage and minimise the impact," Mr Porter said.

"Tuesday's meeting will enable me to give union and business leaders a full briefing on the current situation and the strong action the Morrison Government is taking, as well as seeking their support for a cooperative effort in the weeks and months ahead.

"It's vitally important that we are all working towards the same goal of ensuring that, as much as possible, key industry sectors like food and pharmaceutical manufacturing, mining, health and transport are able to operate at maximum capacity.

"Community anxiety about the virus is high and many people have begun hoarding grocery items due to concerns that they may need to self-isolate for up to 14 days. As a result, supermarket shelves have been stripped bare of goods such as toilet paper, rice, pasta and tinned foods.

"Retailers are doing all they can to keep up with the demand, but as soon as shelves are restocked, they are emptied again within hours. The capacity of industry sectors to meet this increased demand may become impeded if the coronavirus becomes widespread in Australia.

"While the public can help by not panic buying, unions and employers have a key role to play in ensuring that every effort is focused on providing the goods and services that Australians need."

The meeting will include representatives from the ACTU, Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, health and education unions, the Australian Medical Association, Pharmacists, the Ai Group, Business Council of Australia, Australian Retailers Association and Small Business Association of Australia.