Master Builders Victoria (MBV) and the Construction, Forestry, Maritime, Mining and Energy Union (CFMMEU) VIC/TAS, along with several employer associations* have formally written to Premier of Victoria, the Hon. Daniel Andrews, calling for a trial of easing COVID-19 restrictions in addition to the delivery of new stimulus to ensure the protection of the building and construction industry.
The united group’s proposal comes in light of new modelling conducted by Master Builders Victoria, which shows that if current COVID-19 restrictions continue, productivity losses could result in an estimated annual fall of over $6 billion in activity across the building and construction sector, compared to 2018/19, with a further $2 billion reduction in property-related Victorian State Government revenue.
As the government contemplates easing restrictions, the group has highlighted the successful manner in which the industry has put in place measures to ensure the safety of all construction workers, proving the ability to keep workers safe during this time.
“To date, there has been no community transfer of the virus on building and construction sites in Victoria. Two early cases of individuals self-reporting were resolved in rapid time and to maximum level of due care,” the letter said.
The proposed alleviation of restrictions comes as the group looks to the planning and strategising of returning the industry to increased production as soon as possible whilst not compromising or retreating from the primary responsibility of safety.
MBV CEO, Rebecca Casson, commented: “The building and construction industry has proven the ability to deliver its essential work while following strict physical distancing and hygiene routines. We have demonstrated our sector’s capacity to help lead Victoria’s economy out of this crisis.”
Procedures that have been successfully put in place to ensure workers health and safety have included specifically developed industry guidelines for COVID-19, a dedicated Industry Liaison Officer and COVID-19 1800 number for the industry, the establishment of a high-level taskforce to oversee all direction and the conversion of the Incolink bus into a mobile health screening service to test for COVID-19 at building and construction sites across the state.
CFMEU VIC/TAS Secretary, John Setka said: “We are committed to working with our united group of employer associations and unions to ensure our industry continues to operate, with the safety of workers being the upmost priority for all.”
The alleviations to certain restrictions are suggested in the following areas of the industry:
- within commercial construction to address productivity and
- within residential construction – such as through display homes and land-sales offices returning to normal trading hours
“The group stands united and committed to evidence-based decisions and advice from the health experts in order to maintain the utmost safety, whilst continuing to rebuild our states’ economy. We believe we can achieve both in a successful manner,” it concludes.
Full Letter: Letter to the Hon. Daniel Andrews Premier of Victoria.
*Employer associations include: Master Plumbers, National Electrical and Communications Association (NECA), Civil Contractors Federation (CCF), Plumbing and Pipe Trades Employees Union, Electrical Trades Union (ETU) and the Australian Metal Workers Union (AMWU).