PHEW. There may still be restrictions on having metro construction workers and trades on site in regional areas, but country building sites have escaped the two-week shutdown affecting metro Melbourne and regional areas already in lockdown.
So, local tradesmen with concrete orders due to arrive in the morning or with trucks and utes already loaded up for the day’s work tomorrow can still turn up – “we’re on for tomorrow”.
The Master Builders Association of Victoria has just issued the following statement to members:
“We have just finished a meeting with the Treasurer, Tim Pallas, together with Minister Pakula and Minister Allan – and we are sending this message ahead of any formal announcement.
“The Victorian Government has advised us that, as they are continuing to see an increase in COVID-19 transmissions in the building and construction industry, combined with the riots in Melbourne today, all building and construction industry worksites in Metropolitan Melbourne, Geelong, Surf Coast, Ballarat and the Mitchell Shire must close for a 2-week period from 11.59pm tonight, Monday 20 September 2021.
“Whilst the period is set for 2-weeks, the restrictions will only be in force until each of those local government areas are in restrictions for.”
Victorian Building Industry Group of Unions Joint Statement
The Victorian Building Industry Group of Unions which represent some 70,000 construction
workers stand completely united in facing the challenges this pandemic continues to bring.
For the last 18 months, we have worked tirelessly to keep thousands of construction workers
in work, with pay-packets and the ability to put food on their families’ tables.
More than any other industry in Australia or worldwide, we have kept our members working at
high capacity in a COVID-Safe way. We have developed industry guidelines which are world’s
best practice and are practices other industries have sought to adopt.
The Building Industry Group of Unions continue to work together to represent our members in
the construction industry in these trying times.
Last week the Chief Health Officer and the State Government announced a set of restrictions on
lunchrooms and access to amenities on-site, along with mandatory vaccinations for construction
workers. At that time, and following the announcement, we have strongly conveyed to the
highest levels of Government that these restrictions will be unworkable and too heavy-handed.
We have pointed out that these hastily written restrictions will lead to discontent, anger, and
division within the industry, and we will continue to campaign against them.
As we have done privately through industry forums and directly with the Government, we call
on the Andrews Government, Chief Health Officer, and the Department of Health to come to a
sensible return to work scenario that accommodates the reality of our industry and respects
the workers who have built this city.
Make up your own mind about vaccines
In relation to vaccines, the Building Industry Group of Unions has never supported mandatory
vaccination. We have supported and encouraged our members to make their own informed
choice, and seek advice on vaccinations from their own trusted medical professional.
The Building Industry Group of Unions maintains the view that the construction industry would
have voluntarily reached high levels of vaccination without a heavy-handed approach. This
heavy-handed mandate by the Chief Health Officer, which was implemented with no notice,
has only served to drive many people towards the Anti-Vax Movement.
This unrealistic and blunt approach taken by the Government and the Health Department has
ultimately undermined the vaccination rollout, which we strongly indicated it would, and we ask
them to reconsider and call on the Public Health Team to join us in meaningful discussions to
get everybody through these challenging times.
As we have done for more than 120 years the Building Industry Group of Unions are united and
will continue to fight for the best outcome for our members.