- As of midnight, construction will resume for up to 25% capacity on larger sites
- Up to five workers and a supervisor allowed for smaller sites
- Housing Industry Association has noted over 30,000 housing sites have been closed for the past fortnight
The Victorian government has announced that, as of midnight, construction will be allowed to resume under strict restrictions.
Up to five workers and a supervisor will be able to work onsite for smaller projects, with the 25% quotient applicable on larger sites.
If the entire workforce is fully vaccinated, larger sites can welcome up to 50% onsite.
Projects on the State Critical Infrastructure list will operate at 100% if crib rooms follow best practice guidelines.
The state government effectively shut down the industry almost a fortnight ago following a lack of compliance with directions from the Chief Health Officers and protests, which included violent attacks on the headquarters of the CFMEU.
Under the new rules, all onsite workers must continue to carry an Authorised Worker Permit with a record showing at least one vaccine dose.
All sites must have a designated fully trained COVID Marshal.
Crib facilities – colloquially known as ”smoko sheds” – may be used for the consumption of food and drink, but with strict density requirements and additional ventilation.
Caps will be removed once Victoria reaches the 80% target, and all onsite workers must be fully vaccinated by 13 November.
Additionally, fully vaccinated workers can travel between Melbourne and regional Victoria for work.
“We’ve worked really hard with the industry to ensure they can reopen safely – but the message is clear: we won’t tolerate it operating in a way that puts the rest of our community at risk,” said Treasurer and Minister for Industrial Relations, Tim Pallas.
“I want to thank the large number of men and women from the construction sector who have gone and got vaccinated, and if you haven’t booked your jab – get it done today.”
Tim Pallas, Treasurer and Minister for Industrial Relations
Jacinta Allan, the Minister for Transport Infrastructure, acknowledged it has been a challenging time for the industry but hopes the rules slow the spread of the virus.
“A massive effort has gone into getting the 18,000 strong Big Build workforce vaccinated and project sites ready to return to work in compliance with new construction public health orders,” she said.
Over the weekend, the Victorian government also announced a $196.6 million cash grants package for thousands of operators within the construction industry.
The one-off payments are based on annual payroll ranging from $2,000 for eligible sole traders to $8,400 for those with a $3 million to $10 million payroll.
“We want the construction industry to re-open with full compliance of public health orders and the vaccination requirement, and we’ll back businesses to get to that point in the best shape possible,” added Martin Pakula, Minister for Industry Support and Recovery.
Industry welcomes reopening
Unsurprisingly, the industry has welcomed the reopening of the sector, with the Housing Industry Association (HIA) noting over 30,000 housing sites have been closed for the past fortnight.
“It’s a huge relief that the residential building industry will be back to work on 5 October as planned,” said HIA’s Victorian Executive Director, Fiona Nield.
“Whilst the shutdown of all construction sites in metropolitan Melbourne has been difficult for our members to manage – the return for building work to COVIDSafe settings similar to those that were in place prior to the shutdown will provide some welcome relief for builders and their trades.”
Fiona Nield, HIA Victoria