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Australia’s leading tech companies pledge to #StopTheSpread

- March 17, 2020 4 MIN READ
Canva co-founders Cameron Adams, Cliff Obrecht and Melanie Perkins. Photo: supplied.
The leaders of some of Australia’s biggest tech companies, including Canva, Atlassian, Livetiles, Safety Culture and Deputy, have released a manifesto on how business should respond to novel coronavirus as the world faces a potentially massive health and economic crisis.

Inspired by the “Leading Boldly” campaign, which launched in the US on the weekend and involves more than 500 CEOs and business leaders, the Australian #StoptheSpread statement addresses how to reduce the risk of Covid-19 infection and what businesses can do to help.

Canva co-founder Melanie Perkins led the push, which includes being kind, supporting teams and local businesses, as well as committing to social distancing and respecting frontline workers in the fight to “flatten the curve”.

Perkins is encouraging other business leaders to put their name to the open letter. You can sign on here.

Here’s what her Open Letter to All Australian Leaders, posted on Medium, says, along with who’s already signed it:

The impact of the new coronavirus disease, COVID-19, is being felt around the world.

While the confirmed number of those infected in Australia may seem comparatively low, how we respond to the curve in the coming days will have the potential to dramatically alter the health and economic impact of the virus here in Australia for years to come.

Following the example from our neighbours in Singapore and Hong Kong, Australia’s urgent response to COVID-19 is critical in slowing down infection rates. We’ve since made important decisions as a country, with the newly imposed:

  • strict self isolation requirements for 14 days imposed on newly arrived travellers;
  • cruise ship arrivals banned for at least 30 days; and
  • the ban of non-essential gatherings of more than 500 people, such as sporting games, music concerts, and ANZAC day services

While COVID-19 is an extremely fluid situation, there are a number of things that we can do to alleviate the pressure on essential services, ensuring that as a nation, we’re equipped to support everyone.

A Pledge to #StopTheSpread

To do this, we’re encouraging all of Australia’s business leaders, employees, our friends, and our families to pledge to:

  • Commit to social distancing. Make working from home mandatory for all employees wherever possible and discourage unnecessary international and domestic travel. Abide by self-isolation regulations. Postpone events and ask employees to stop attending voluntary/social public events of ANY size.
  • Support your team. Wherever possible — continue to support contractors and casual staff. A lot of people will be facing significant hardship; if your business has the financial capacity to continue to support your team, this is the time to do so. Every little bit counts.
  • Support local businesses. Choose local wherever possible, online and only offline as needed.
  • Respect and support frontline workers and first responders. ‘Flattening the curve’ is about reducing the pressure on essential services, especially healthcare. This helps to ensure that we avoid congestion and that we’re adequately equipped to provide support for everyone. Free up our healthcare from non-emergency situations as we move through this crisis.
  • Stop panic buying — only purchase what you need. If you have more than you need, think about donating to someone who may have been forgotten or in need of the essentials.
  • Stop sharing misinformation. False advice and fear-mongering can be just as harmful. Only refer to credible sources like the World Health Organisation.
  • Be kind. Treat one another kindly in this stressful time, and stand up against any discriminatory behaviour.

There’s no doubt that these are testing times. However, COVID-19 outbreaks can be contained and transmission stopped, as has been shown in China and some other countries. That’s why right now — our unified action needs to spread faster. In doing so, we may be able to contain this situation and know our actions from today will help ensure a better tomorrow.

As business leaders, we have a social responsibility and moral obligation to work in cohesion with our government. We’ve been impressed to see the stance US business leaders have already taken (see their letter) and would like to affirm Australia’s commitment to boldly do the same.

To this end, please:

  1. Join this unified action pledge. Add your name alongside the other bold business leaders listed below by clicking here.
  2. Share this message with at least 3 of your friends, family and colleagues using #StopTheSpread on social media.

Like many other countries, as Australians we’ve certainly had our fair share of tough times this year. That said, we’re incredibly fortunate to be a nation of resilience and courage — we’ve proven time and time again that our greatest strength stems from rallying together.

The true test of society comes from our response in the face of a crisis.

Together, we can #StopTheSpread.

Thank you,

Melanie Perkins, Canva

Scott Farquhar, Atlassian

Patrick Llewellyn, 99 Designs

Darrin Grafton, Serko

Craig Scroggie, NEXTDC

Didier Elzinga, Culture Amp

Sam Chandler, Nitro

Cliff Obrecht, Canva

Cameron Adams, Canva

Karl Redenbach, LiveTiles

Peter Nguyen-Brown, LiveTiles

Ashik Ahmed, Deputy

Michael Frizell, Pet Circle

Bruce Buchanan, Rokt

Bridget Loudon, Expert360

Niki Scevak, Blackbird

Rick Baker, Blackbird

Luke Anear, Safety Culture

Michael Batko, Startmate

Alexey Mitko, Eucalyptus

Tim Noakesmith, VOW

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