The Premier has today made further announcements on the easing of restrictions, consistent with the Victorian Government’s earlier Roadmap.
From 11:59pm on Tuesday 27 October, our industry in Metropolitan Melbourne will move to the ‘Open with a COVIDSafe Plan’ stage. The detail of what this stage entails will have some differences from what was originally communicated by the State Government some weeks ago. We will provide updates over the coming days clarifying any questions members may have.
However, earlier tonight, our team had a private briefing with the State Government to discuss the changes and we have provided as much information as possible in this communique from that meeting. The information provided below details the significant changes for each area of our industry in Metropolitan Melbourne from 11:59pm on Tuesday 27 October:
High-Risk COVIDSafe Plans
The good news is that building and construction has been removed from the “high-risk” industry list, meaning that there is no longer a requirement to have a high-risk COVIDSafe plan. However, a COVIDSafe plan is still required for businesses operating in building and construction.
Small Scale Construction (including renovations of unoccupied homes):
- Worker number limits removed (no more 5 worker limit)
- Restrictions on movement between sites for workers and specialist contractors no longer apply
- Pre-contract works on occupied homes (such as site measurements), can occur, where it is possible to create a physical barrier between workers and occupants, or the occupier can temporarily vacate the premises for the duration of the works.
- The opening of the retail industry will also assist clients in determining material selections
Large Scale Construction:
- Worker number limits removed (No more 85% limit)
- Restrictions on movement between sites for specialist contractors no longer applies
Renovations of Occupied Homes:
- In our meeting with the State Government tonight, they advised that renovations on occupied homes can begin from 11:59pm on Tuesday 27 October. These works must be done where it is possible to create a physical barrier between workers and occupants, or the occupier can temporarily vacate the premises for the duration of the works. The State Government advised tonight that they believed a risk-based approach may be applied by DHHS for this, with examples including a dust sheet taped across a door to prevent air circulation between occupants and workers. However, more guidance will be provided about the requirements for physical barriers in the coming days – so please watch this space.
Early Stage Land Development:
- Worker number limits removed
Display Homes, Sales Suites and Land Sales Offices:
- Open for up to two households and up to 10 people at a time for 30-minute appointments. However, The State Government advised tonight that this will increase on 8 November to 10 people from any number of households – more information to follow on this.
- The 25km travel limit in Metropolitan Melbourne will remain until 8 November, then be removed
- The existing requirements for worker permits will remain in places until 8 November
With all these changes, opening is dependent on businesses having a COVIDSafe Plan in place and applying the industry guidelines. More information can be accessed here.
As we’ve seen over the last eight months as changes are made, there are always points that need clarification. Master Builders Victoria will work to answer any questions members may have over the next few days.
The Government media release can be found here.
We anticipate further documents to be released by the State Government in the next few days relating to these changes. We will update you when they are available.
Message from the CEO, Rebecca Casson
Today the Premier announced that our industry will make significant steps to move to full capacity from 11:59pm on Tuesday 27 October.
The fact that we have reached this point, while most of our industry has been able to stay open in a scaled back capacity over the last eight months, is a credit to you - our members - who have adapted and kept our industry COVIDSafe.
I congratulate all members for their efforts so far. This does not mean the end of these efforts though. With the return to a ‘COVID normal’ industry at close to full capacity, our vigilance on safety will be even more important. The challenge of COVID-19 is not over, but to a degree we collectively hold the short term-future of our industry in our hands.
If everyone keeps their sites COVIDSafe, our industry should stay open.
However, we know that reopening will not magically solve the range of issues our sector has faced over the last eight months. There has been an enormous financial strain put on many members, so we will keep advocating on your behalf over the coming months, and perhaps years, that the aftershocks of this period could last.
The State Government has repeatedly confirmed that the building and construction industry will lead the recovery. Our sector will take on that responsibility and we will use your feedback to advise Government on what our industry needs to make that happen.
Over the last week, Master Builders Victoria’s advocacy on your behalf has included media appearances putting our position across, which has contributed to today’s result. See the media clips here: Channel 7 and Sky News.
Going forward, Master Builders Victoria will continue to advocate for:
- the extension and expansion of Federal programs like Home Builder
- the full opening of display homes, sales suites and land sales offices
- the cutting of red tape
- a practical way forward with Liquidated damages
- further incentives for private investment in all sectors of our industry
- maintaining the pipeline of projects
- other initiatives that can help our industry recover and thrive.
One of the keys to our State’s recovery will be maintaining and developing the pipeline of projects, together with long-term certainty on operating at full capacity.
This will be our continued focus, and we were pleased to see a Master Builders Advocacy win announced on Saturday by the Minister for Planning - the launch of the Development Facilitation Program (DFP), which is continuing the work of the Building Victoria’s Recovery Taskforce. DFP’s role is to identify priority projects that meet specific criteria including investment certainty, positive short to medium term economic impact, job creation and their contribution to broader social objectives like affordable housing and emissions reduction.
The launch of the DFP coincided with the Planning Minister announcing $625 million of planning permit approvals for building and development projects across metropolitan, rural and regional Victoria. Click here for more information and to apply to the Development Facilitation Program.
This recent lockdown period has been an emotional rollercoaster for many of our members – especially those that have not been permitted to work for the duration - and we know the financial strain my continue for some time.
It has been a pleasure to support our members through this challenging period and we look forward to continuing to work with you in the coming weeks and months to lead a future ready, COVIDSafe, industry that builds a better world.
Please continue to stay well and safe.
Best wishes, Rebecca
Below is a Media Statement from CEO, Rebecca Casson released by Master Builders Victoria
“We are thrilled with today’s announcement by the Premier, and our industry is ready to get back to work on Wednesday at full capacity. It is also great news that our renovations sector can get back to work on occupied premises, especially as these businesses have been out of action for many months - so today is a huge relief for them.
“We thank all our members, the DHHS and the State Government for the collaborative work they’ve undertaken over the last few months in keeping our industry safe and – for the most part - open. It has taken a lot of hard work and there have been some very difficult times, but we appreciate all those individuals that have worked tirelessly throughout this period.
“Since March, our industry has adapted and changed to keep COVIDSafe, and we will continue to remain vigilant on safety.
“I am confident that on Wednesday our industry will successfully move back to full capacity and we look forward to continuing to work with the Victorian Government to lead the economic recovery of our state.”