The Victorian Government has announced a lockdown extension and tougher restrictions for Melbourne’s sixth lockdown, including additional restrictions for the construction industry – as the COVID-19 Delta Variant cases rise.  

The new restrictions state that large-scale construction sites are now limited to 25 per cent for site capacity or five workers per site, whichever is greater, with small-scale construction sites allowed five workers per site.

The new restrictions, relative to the construction industry, include:

  • A two week lockdown extension across metropolitan Melbourne until 11.59pm on Thursday, 2 September
  • A curfew to be imposed from 9pm to 5am every night, operating as it did in 2020, with very limited reasons to leave the home during this time
  • From 11:59pm on Tuesday August 17, authorised workers are required to carry permits when working, and when travelling for work
  • Face masks will remain mandatory indoors (not at home) and outdoors, including all workplaces, unless an exemption applies
  • Large-scale construction sites limited to 25 per cent site capacity or five workers per site
  • Small-scale construction sites are allowed five workers per site
  • Early-stage land development project are allowed ten workers per hectare

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews, said, “These restrictions are hard work for every Victorian. Everyone wants this pandemic to be over, but the rules are in place for a reason – we know they work and if we follow them together, we’ll be able to lift them sooner.”

Construction Industry reacts

Master Builders Association of Victoria (MBV) CEO, Rebecca Casson, said tougher restrictions for the building and construction industry in metropolitan Melbourne would have a devastating impact on a sector already reeling from repeated snap lockdowns in 2021.

Ms Casson said it was important to note that since the start of the pandemic, the sector had continued to follow the bespoke COVID-19 Guidelines for the Building and Construction Industry Victoria – which is now up to revision 13 – and implemented many measures ahead of other sectors.

“Whilst we understand this decision from a health perspective, our sector has a strong proven track record of keeping worksites safe,” Ms Casson said.

“This can be demonstrated by cases of COVID-19 on worksites being very small in comparison to overall cases in the Victorian community.

“Even at the height of the pandemic in 2020, the ratio of building and construction cases compared to the wider community was 1:7.5.

“We’ve had six positive cases in 2021, and only 148 cases in total since the pandemic began in March 2020.”

Ms Casson said building and construction was critical to the state’s economy, being the largest full-time employer in Victoria and supporting more than 300,000 jobs. 

“Every day that our industry is locked down, that’s $455 million in lost revenue plus $63 million in lost wages,” Ms Casson said.

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