AS we enter another wave of COVID-19 here in Victoria, you could be mistaken for feeling a sense of history repeating itself from this very time last year.
Our industry faced crippling restrictions, particularly in our meat processing sector, and an enormous focus was placed on ensuring our industry and supply chains played their part to stay COVID safe and halt the spread of the virus.
We asked for a roadmap from the Victorian Government to return to "COVID normal" yet after 18 months of painstaking work and sacrifice by industry, restrictions placed on us are the same as a year ago.
We did the work required, yet that has barely been acknowledged by the Victorian Government.
As eerily similar as that situation sounds to what is potentially on the horizon, the months ahead look much different and there's no doubt the priorities of the Victorian Government have changed significantly in the fight against COVID-19.
It's been made crystal clear that we won't return to a COVID free state and if anything we will continue to see rising levels of the virus in the community even when we reach the desired levels of 70 and 80 per cent of the population vaccinated.
It was a clear shift of the goalposts to concede "zero" by the Victorian Government.
Now we need a roadmap for essential industries such as agriculture to continue operating at desired levels, especially as the virus spreads throughout our community.
It's not a matter of if, but when the virus leaks into our regions and industry given the increasing numbers and it's critical we prepare now for that reality.
Clearly the road to normality lies in vaccinating a large proportion of our population, however to ignore the issues we face in the immediate future would be foolish and fraught with danger.
We've done our part.
We changed how our workforce operates, we sacrificed the company of our family and friends, we lined up at border crossings and we are turning up in droves to be vaccinated.
It's time for the Victorian Government to give us a pathway and some hope for the future.
We need business and community certainty in uncertain times. We must ensure we can continue to stay open as we learn to live with COVID-19.