Australia's economic edge could be lost if international borders are not reopened in the next few years, a banking boss says.
But HSBC Australia chief executive Kaber Mclean has stressed it's not a "doom and gloom scenario", rather the difference between a "positive" and "very positive" economic outlook.
He described Australia's border and containment approach as "something of an experiment" to a federal parliamentary economics committee on Thursday.
While the country had successfully moderated its net migration over a long period, a total halt over three or more years would have consequences.
"The benefits of being an island with well-controlled borders and effective containment policies, those benefits are upfront. But the longer-term economic consequences come towards the end, Mr Mclean said.
He said setting out a clear pathway to international border reopening was "critical".
HSBC Australia's 2021 GDP growth forecast was just over five per cent, but that did not take into account the current outbreaks.
"This isn't a doom and gloom senario that we're painting," Mr Mclean said.
"There's a difference between being positive about a very strong and robust economy, and being very positive about it. That's the sort of gap we're talking about."
Government data showed 7.92 per cent of Australians aged over 16 had been fully vaccinated by June 30.
Mr Mclean declined an invitation to cast judgment on the country's vaccine rollout.
"It's entirely clear Australia has managed the medical pandemic and economic response," the bank boss said.
"Even in countries that haven't managed the medical emergency nearly as well as Australia, they still seem to be very effective in terms of being the light at the end of the tunnel and being able to assist people to get back to some form of normality."
Meanwhile, Australian employer bodies have agreed after a government roundtable to speak to members about giving employees flexible hours, or paid or unpaid leave, to get vaccinated.
The groups include the Business Council of Australia, Australian Industry Group and Australian Chamber of Commerce.
Woolworths separately said it was willing to roll out its own vaccine program to employees or host public vaccine pop-ups.
Its part-time and full-time employees get vaccination leave if they can't schedule a jab out of working hours.
Casual and salaried workers are encouraged to use flexible agreements such as shift swaps.