tim pallas
Tim Pallas MP at the press conference earlier today. Image – YouTube.
  • Number of cases linked to construction sites has risen
  • The average case linked to a construction site lives 20km away
  • The blitz will last for four weeks

With Victoria’s young and mobile construction workforce becoming a major source of Victoria’s latest coronavirus outbreak, the state government has announced a month-long compliance blitz.

The average case linked to a construction site lives about 20 kilometres away compared to 4 kilometres for other outbreaks, such as among local supermarkets.

The blitz will be carried out by the state government’s Industry Enforcement and Engagement Operation body in partnership with both the Victorian Building Authority and Worksafe.

The joint operation, which consists of about 50 compliance teams daily, will have a ‘zero tolerance’ approach with fines and prohibition notices.

“The entire industry – employers and unions – are on notice,” said Treasurer and Industrial Relations Minister Tim Pallas.

“We’ve had significant, significant transmission on building sites, and we simply can’t afford not to act … the permitted worker status of this industry could well be at risk.”

Tim Pallas, Treasurer and Minister for Industrial Relations

Additional engagement with the sector will also occur, targeting small to medium-size businesses to support sub-contractors in understanding their obligations.

The news comes as Master Builders Australia (MBA) today launched a campaign to bolster vaccination rates among its industry while encouraging the state and territory governments to commit to reopening once 70-80% of the population is fully vaccinated.

The Victorian government said four major vaccinations centres will be opened for walk-ups from today until 26 September for construction workers.

Additionally, 20,000 priority appointments for construction workers will be made available at all sites across Victoria excluding drive-throughs.

Anyone who works at sites where civil works, building or construction activities take place – including contractors and architects working on-site – will also be eligible.

“Our construction industry is critical to our state, but what is even more important is vaccinating each and every Victorian so we can slow the spread of the virus,” said Mr Pallas.

“The construction sector’s ability to remain open is on a knife’s edge, and to ensure they can keep building, people need to get vaccinated and follow the rules.”

“Ensuring easy access to vaccinations for this industry will help slow the spread of the virus and prevent further infections in the long run,” added Health Minister, Martin Foley.

Today, 473 new local virus cases were recorded across the state.

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