Master Builders Victoria (MBV) has called for the renovation sector to be immediately permitted to return to work inside occupied premises, or at the very minimum, return when 70 per cent of Victorians are fully vaccinated.

As the industry-leading body for building and construction in Victoria, MBV has been strongly advocating to the Victorian Government in recent weeks over the plight of the renovation sector, which is still not permitted to work inside occupied premises.

This week, MBV provided a private briefing to a range of Government ministers on why the renovation sector should be permitted to re-open in a COVIDSafe manner and called on the Government to act on this important issue.

MBV CEO Rebecca Casson said the ongoing COVID-19 restrictions, where builders are not permitted to work inside occupied homes, continued to severely disadvantage and financially impact the renovation sector. 

“Many of our renovation members are small family businesses that have not received adequate financial support to help them through this recent lockdown. They have been forced to stand down staff with the added risk of losing key staff due to skill shortages. This prolonged lockdown has also brought mental health impacts on small businesses and their employees,” she said.

“Currently, under the Victorian Government’s roadmap, the renovation sector is not permitted to work until 5 November 2021, subject to vaccination rates and epidemiological data.

“We feel that’s too long and presents an increased risk to clients being out of pocket due to builder insolvencies.

“The renovation sector has demonstrated vaccination compliance and proven that it can manage the risks of COVID-19. Therefore, there is some legitimacy for renovations to be permitted sooner than the current dates outlined in the roadmap.”

Ms Casson said many MBV members had active renovation jobs that are near completion.

If these projects were permitted to re-start before 5 November 2021 in a COVIDSafe manner and utilising vaccinated staff, this would mean that many Victorians would have kitchens and bathrooms finished by Christmas.

Ms Casson said MBV would continue to tirelessly advocate to the Victorian Government until the whole building and construction industry is back at work and all COVID-19 restrictions were removed.

“MBV cares deeply about all our members. Whether they are a home builder or a commercial builder, small-scale or large-scale, tradesperson, supplier, specialist contractor, based in regional Victoria or metropolitan Melbourne – and we care about their clients too,” she said.

“We haven’t for one minute forgotten about our important renovation members and, over the last few weeks, we have pro-actively worked with them to highlight to the Victorian Government that the renovation sector can manage the risks of COVID-19.

“They are ready to return to work now and we call on the Victorian Government to allow this to happen to further kick-start our economy."