(Image: Mitchell Squire/Private Media)

The sight of Scott Morrison urgently convening a meeting with major industry groups last week to address supply chain problems caused by worker shortages was one of the more predictable policy failures of recent years.

With shelves already bare of essentials like meat and toilet paper across the country, it was only now, well into the reopening phase of the economy, that it occurred to the prime minister that large numbers of infections -- the consequence everyone knew would result from reopening -- would pose workforce issues at a time when a number of industries were already complaining about existing employee shortages.

Supply chains have been the subject of extensive focus from the outset of the pandemic, and increasingly in 2021 as government-fuelled demand met undersupply resulting from damaged international logistics systems, particularly around shipping.