Victoria Roadmap Disappointment for Home Building
The Government announced today that Victoria is set to reach its 70 per cent double dose vaccination target earlier than expected. A number of changes to restrictions will therefore be brought forward.
What does this announcement mean for construction?
Whilst a number of personal freedoms have been announced today, no additional easing of restrictions for small scale construction sites were made.
This means from 11:59pm Thursday 21st October:
- The previously announced resumption of renovations and non-essential maintenance works in occupied homes will be allowed. HIA’s Member Alert from Friday provides full details of this change.
- Large scale construction sites will return to 100 percent capacity, if all workers are fully vaccinated.
Where to from here?
Today’s roadmap announcement is a bitter disappointment for residential builders, their trades, suppliers, and installers, together with the thousands of Victorian families waiting to move into their new homes.
With no new announcements for our industry, the Government’s previously released roadmap also provides little certainty as to what happens to small-scale construction sites and related sales activities when the 70 percent double dose vaccination target was reached.
The original announcement did suggest that there would be an increase to workforce capacity of 50 per cent but today’s announcement provides no such increase for our sector of the construction industry.
Despite extensive enforcement activity on residential sites since the reopening, there is no information to suggest non-compliance in our industry is of concern and there has never been evidence that small scale construction sites have been a cause of outbreaks.
As construction industry workers now need to be vaccinated to attend any type of site, our industry is contributing to the increase in the number of Victorians who are vaccinated, therefore we should be allowed to move to a greater worker capacity than the 5 person limit that will remain in place.
Last week HIA again asked the Premier and key Ministers to:
- remove the restriction on the number of sites a worker may attend each week;
- end the restriction on crossing between regional and metro Victoria for only fully vaccinated workers;
- allow clients to visit building sites for inspections;
- remove restrictions on clients attending handovers; and
- reopen display homes and colour selection centres with all COVID safe measures in place.
We will continue to push for these changes and for certainty over when small scale residential building and associated activities can return to 100 percent capacity.
The roadmap does state that at 80 percent double dose vaccination the construction industry will open with COVIDSafe settings and additional obligations. With today’s disappointing omission of the home building industry it is even more important for the Government to clarify what “additional obligations” will remain when this target is reached and what capacity industry will be permitted to return to.
Ongoing COVID-19 obligations
Despite today’s disappointment, we encourage you to continue being vigilant and to follow all of the requirements in place as enforcement of the COVID requirements are being strictly enforced by WorkSafe, the Victorian Building Authority and the Department of Justice, both through onsite visits and desktop audits.
Businesses must continue to ensure:
- their COVIDSafe plan is relevant and up to date;
- workers are wearing a facemask while working indoors and outdoors (unless an exception applies);
- density limits on site are complied with;
- record-keeping for contact tracing purposes and QR code signs are maintained; and
- sites are cleaned in shared spaces.
We will keep you informed as more information becomes available.