Master Builders Victoria, the CFMEU VIC/TAS Branch, and Incolink have committed to encouraging their members to make an informed decision on the COVID-19 vaccine.

They have called on the state and federal government to maintain a sense of urgency and proactively educate and inform Victorians about the vaccine.

Rebecca Casson, CEO of Master Builders Victoria, said the coalition of building and construction groups, established at the start of the pandemic had commissioned research to understand the industry’s COVID-19 vaccine perceptions and what information they required.

The research had a specific focus on multicultural groups.

“We represent a diverse range of members and commissioned research to understand what they knew about the vaccines, information sources, and any concerns they had,” Ms Casson said.

“We focused on Victoria’s multicultural groups because we know from our communications during the pandemic that they are often a hard-to-reach part of our membership base.

“Whilst the research was completed before the recent lockdowns began, we do know that - with our industry - we need to target efforts on communicating with workers under 40, those in regional Victoria, and multicultural groups.

“Our members get their news from family and friends, culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) social media platforms, and worksite notices.”

Ms Casson said MBV was proactively looking at ways to ensure members had access to clear, relatable information that helped them make an informed choice about the COVID-19 vaccine.

“Working together, our industry has been successful in keeping the building and construction sector safe and open throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. It is now time to fully reopen the country by supporting the vaccine rollout,” she said.

“Getting as many Victorians informed about the vaccines as quickly as possible so that there is no longer any reason for lockdowns, border closures, or other restrictions is vitally important for our sector and our community.

“Ideally, our industry messaging should be complemented by a strong public messaging campaign promoting information about the vaccine to all Australians and across all communities, regardless of cultural background.”

Victorian State Secretary of the CFMEU, John Setka, said industry members had proven during lockdowns that they were willing to do the right thing to keep the industry safely operating.

“The research showed our members listened to us when it came to serious matters,” Mr Setka said.

“We are willing to work with our members but also want to see more support from governments on public campaigns.

“We got through lockdowns last year, and this year, because our members looked out for each other and did the right thing on site.

“We want to take that same attitude towards the vaccine roll-out with our members being fully informed so they can make the best choice.”

Like many other Victorians, Mr Setka said his members wanted to lead normal lives and help with the state’s economic recovery.

CEO of Incolink, Erik Locke, highlighted the recent success of the Incolink bus as a COVID-19 testing facility, which saw 23,000 tests done on-site, helping to keep the building and construction industry safe and open.

“We are one of the few industries which already has the ability to deliver vaccinations at worksites, on-demand,” he said

“We can use hubs in the regions to do entire sites in a day, and perform 40,000 vaccinations in four months.

“Incolink is the trusted brand which our diverse group of members trust to be their safety net, and to look after their wellbeing.”