Dear members,

2020 is about to tick over, and I am sure everyone will be glad to see the end of this very difficult year.

As we broke for the festive season last year, I don't think anyone could have anticipated the year we had ahead of us.  Clearly, COVID-19 presented the biggest challenge to our industry in our lifetimes. We know how tough it has been for many members this year. You've all been faced with extraordinary circumstances, most likely have had many sleepless nights, and many have had to make heartbreaking decisions. But the way our industry banded together in the face of those challenges should make us all proud, and, Importantly, it also should make us confident about the future.

The saying "crisis creates opportunity" has been very true for our industry in 2020.

When the enormity of COVID-19 first hit back in March, it was you, our members, that embraced new safety measures. You adapted and showed the rest of Victoria what was required to work through this crisis. Incolink became central to the safety of many larger worksites with their on-site testing, and it became a model for other industries to follow. We even collaborated with groups that we haven't traditionally worked with, and it succeeded.

All of this was noticed by Government and many others. It ensured that, when decisions were made, Master Builders Victoria was consulted, and our members' voice was listened to. As many of you will know, there's a big difference between being heard and being listened to. Government, media and the public heard that voice more than ever in 2020 and listened to it throughout this crisis. This is something Master Builders Victoria will continue in 2021 and beyond. 

Over the last few weeks, the decision to bring forward the Domestic Builder Managers registration transition without warning, caused us to strongly put our members' concerns to the Victorian Building Authority and Government. One week later, that decision was reversed because you were listened to.

Of course, not everything went our way, but compared to other industries, most of our sector did manage to stay open, albeit scaled back.

Both the state and federal governments have anointed our industry as the leader of the recovery. Budget measures have been put in place that will create work in our industry over the next few years. This is the result of Master Builders Victoria being listened to, and it's why we exist. 

But our industry is not out of the woods yet, and you only have to look at the events in Sydney over the last week to see that we're dealing with a fragile situation. It's why our sector's safety campaign that gets our industry message across to people of all backgrounds will be as relevant when we go back to work in 2021, just as it was during lockdown. If you haven't already done so, download these posters and social media tiles, to ensure you're doing everything you can to get the right message to your workers.

With that message at the front of our minds, Master Builders Victoria will continue to advocate for what our industry needs to be the leader of our state's recovery.

We also finished 2020 with our Board and Council of Management elections finalised. On behalf of Master Builders Victoria, I thank outgoing president, Richard Hansen, and the Board, Council of Management and Sector Committee members for all their work this year. Steering us through such a difficult period is a tremendous legacy for that group. 

Looking to 2021, we welcome our new President, Mark Little, together with our new Board, Council of Management and Sector Committee members. Mark started his career as one of our apprentice of the year award winners, and now he has become president of Master Builders Victoria - a terrific career journey! Mark will lead us into an exciting 2021, with Master Builders Victoria's standing enhanced and our voice louder than ever.

I thank all members who have adapted to the new COVIDNormal, and importantly, I thank our wonderful Master Builders Victoria team. They have continued to put our members first, all the time, every time, and worked extraordinary hours through 2020 in such difficult circumstances. They have been so impressive – working all weekends since March – and even working last Sunday after our office closed on Friday - to ensure that you, our members, received the most up to date information about the emerging border situation in New South Wales.  And that's why it's so important that our team has a longer break so that they can come back refreshed in the New Year to support you again. Nevertheless, if you have an absolute emergency and require very urgent assistance, please call (03) 9411 4555 and dial '3' after the prompts.

Finally, that leads us to the fact that we all need a rest. Please enjoy your break, whether that be celebrating Christmas, taking a summer holiday or farewelling 2020. Please stay safe and well in whatever you do, and during the break, remember to stay vigilant with all the COVIDSafe measures we implemented to keep our industry safe during the working year. That way, we'll come back refreshed and healthy for an exciting 2021.

As always, thank you for your continued support of Master Builders Victoria, we look forward to continuing to work with you in 2021, and leading a future-ready industry that builds a better world.


Best wishes,