The five-day Victoria-wide lockdown announced by the Victorian Government on Friday is very disappointing for everyone in our industry.

It goes beyond the Stage 4 restrictions that our whole sector worked within between August and October last year, and means that the vast majority of worksites across Victoria will not operate until the revision of the announced lockdown ends at 11:59pm, Wednesday, 17 February 2021.

The reason given by the Victorian Government for this ‘Circuit Breaker Action’ is that this strain of the virus is faster moving, and the mobility of workers must therefore be reduced to prevent risks of spreading. The Government’s hope is that, by locking down harder for five days, it will mean getting on top of the issue more quickly, and therefore avoid the elongated lockdowns our State endured last year.

On behalf of our members, we have voiced our concerns directly to the State Government as well as publicly about the consequences if the lockdown were to extend beyond five days. This message featured in the Herald Sun today and on Channel 7 News last night (watch from 7:10), our full media statement from yesterday can be read below.

We do, however, understand that these are exceptional circumstances and our State has not had to deal with this strain of the virus until now. Therefore, we advise everyone to follow the rules of the five-day lockdown, for some important reasons:

  1. It is essential that our industry gets back to work in full, as soon as possible. Our success in keeping building and construction going through 2020 was based on the State Government understanding that our sector would operate safely and within the rules. Anyone not following the rules not only creates a risk to health but also brings into question the outstanding record of our whole industry.
  2. Compliance officers will be patrolling during the lockdown and there will be significant fines, with criminal ramifications, for businesses that break the lockdown order. On-the-spot fines of up to $9913 can be issued to businesses that do not comply, and those fines can rise to as much as $100,000 for businesses once it goes through the court system. In addition to this, the reputational damage to those businesses proven to be flouting the lockdown rules could be significant, not only for the business but also for employees and the whole building and construction industry.

So, as difficult as it is, complying with the lockdown until Wednesday night is the best chance for everyone to be back working sooner.

Rest assured that your voice is being heard in our discussions with the State Government. For example, over the weekend, Master Builders Victoria has assisted some members in securing exemptions for their essential and critical projects – such as for the purposes of national security and defence.

And, we have continued to be very clear with the State Government that the building and construction industry will be ready to go on Thursday, and if that doesn’t occur, our advocacy for financial support will ramp up even further. Everything we do this week is to prepare our industry for beyond Wednesday night.

We will continue to keep you updated on all matters related to our industry, the lockdown and exposure sites via our Member Bulletins and social media.

Our team is here to help you during this challenging period. If you are unsure what the restrictions mean for you, please contact mbassist@mbav.com.au with any queries.

We know it’s a very difficult time, and Master Builders Victoria exists to support you, ensuring that our industry can continue to build a better future.

Please stay well and stay safe.

 

Mark Little and Rebecca Casson

 

Please click here for yesterday’s Member Bulletin update

 

Media Statement by Master Builders Victoria on Building and Construction lockdown 13/02/2021:

Master Builders Victoria CEO Rebecca Casson:

“As of today, the vast majority of the building and construction industry in Victoria will not be able to go on to worksites.

“The few worksites that are exceptions and will continue, are critical infrastructure projects – road projects like the M80 Ring Road and Monash Freeway upgrades.

“There will be exceptions made for emergency housing repairs, and builders are also allowed to carry out work required to make their sites safe and secure, prior to closing the site.

“This represents the harshest lockdown our industry has experienced during the pandemic. And, for the first time, our wider industry will be almost completely stopped. It’s a step beyond the Stage 4 restrictions we endured through much of 2020.

“This is incredibly disappointing, especially given our sector’s very strong safety record. And, if this lockdown was to go on any longer than five days, there would be catastrophic economic ramifications.

“We urge everyone in our industry to follow the rules over the coming days, so we are best-placed to open back up on Thursday.

“In the meantime, Master Builders Victoria is working with our members through this difficult period. We’d advise all in our industry to check our website for further updates.”

 

New exposure sites:

New exposure sites have been identified over the last 24 hours, these sites are:

  • Alberton Café, 198 Bridport Street, Albert Park 8:50am - 10:10am, 9/2/2021 and 9:00am-10:15am 11/2/2021
  • Woolworths Broadmeadows Central, Pascoe Vale Road, Broadmeadows 12:15pm – 12:30pm 9/2/2021
  • Ferguson Plarre Bakehouse – Broadmeadows, 1099-1169 Pascoe Vale Road, Broadmeadows 12:30pm – 12:45pm 9/02/2012
  • Oak Park Sports and Aquatic Centre, 563a Pascoe Vale Road, Pascoe Vale 4:00pm – 7:30pm 10/2/2021
  • Elite Swimming Pascoe Vale, 8 Attercliffe Avenue, Pascoe Vale 5:00pm-6:00pm 8/2/2021

There is also a focus on this site added yesterday:

  • Function Venue, 426 Sydney Road, Coburg 7:14pm-11:30pm 6/2/2021

If any worker in your business has been to these sites in these timeframes, they must get tested, isolate for 14 days and follow further instructions.

These sites have been added to the overall list, which can be read here. We urge all members to check this list regularly and update your workforce.


For information on where to get tested, see here.