Message from the CEO
I want to bring you all up to date on the recent actions CCF Victoria has been taking on your behalf in response to the Coronavirus (C-19) Pandemic.
Our focus has been to ensure that the civil construction industry is committed to responding in a way that supports containment of the C-19 virus, and working with Government on minimising long and short-term economic and community implications for the industry.
Since my update last Sunday evening, we have continued to see State & Federal Governments make a series of important announcements that continues to have a major impact on business, workers and our broader community. So what are we doing?
CCF National Advocacy
At a national level, CCF this week has made representations to the Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister seeking their support to provide a number of exemptions for ‘civil construction workers and industry related personnel’ to allow workers in our industry to continue to cross borders for the purposes of working and managing civil construction sites across Australia, in lieu of recent state and territory border closure announcements. We are seeking a consistent approach across all jurisdictions.
We have also requested that the ‘civil construction sector be clearly identified and listed as an ‘essential service’ – there is confusion and uncertainty in a number of sectors and is important that we receive absolute assurity as “lockdown measures” escalate. It is also vitally important that CCF adopts a uniform and consistent approach on this issue and similar assurances have been sought State and Territory Premiers and Chief Ministers.
A submission has also been lodged this morning to the Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister seeking the Governments support for the development of a ‘Civil Construction Procurement Payment Rescue Plan’ based on the Plan developed and adopted by the British Government (refer attached). For consistency of messaging, I will also be forwarding similar correspondence note the Premier and Treasurer overnight.
COVID-19 (C-19) Safety Guidelines on Construction Worksites
Building and Construction Industry Employers and Unions have been working this week with the Building & Industry Disputes Panel (BIDP) in developing a set of guidelines to assist employers and employees minimise the impact C-19 may have on construction worksites. We have now released this response and guidelines, which is proportionate and takes care of building and construction workers while doing everything it can to avoid going into “lock down”. The various employer groups and unions that have worked together to develop these guidelines in line with government recommendations, are now directing their members to immediately adhere to these guidelines and that they are dutifully followed by all employers and employees.
The Media Release and Safety Guidelines have now been placed on the CCF Victoria for your reference and use (refer link below) https://www.ccfvic.com.au/building-and-construction-industry-victoria-guidelines-covid-19/
I have had numerous clients, including local government and VEDN companies, highlight instances of poor social and physical distancing practices on worksites. News has also come in overnight from the UK overnight regarding the construction industry and whether or not to lock it down and I refer you to the following links. https://news.sky.com/video/aerials-show-lack-of-social-distancing-to-prevent-coronavirus-spread-11962810
I want to remind you that while Civil Construction worksites lend themselves very well to compliance under the current social distancing rules, our industry is not immune to public scrutiny. We must all “play our part” within the community in which we operate, to adhere to the above guidelines set and keep people safe. Our leadership, our actions and on-site behaviours will ultimately influence any decision to close a site, or many sites, and will arguably cost many businesses more than some of them can bear. The flow on effects of insolvency will cause unprecedented economic hardship for business, workers and their families. The choice is yours and I implore you all to show strong leadership in this regard.
CCF Victoria Business Continuity Plans
At CCF, we are entering a challenging time due to the government enforced restrictions from the C-19 pandemic. These restrictions has resulted in changes being made to many roles to enable staff to work remotely, some with reduced hours.
Over the next four weeks – till the week ending 25/4/20 (inclusive), we have commenced working remotely in line with Government directions. Commencing Monday, 30 March 2020, the CCF Notting Hill office will be operating with “skeleton staff” and restricted access. Visitors and staff not rostered to work, will not gain access to the Notting Hill Office, where strict protocols are already in place to ensure the health and safety of staff. Only those staff on the roster, or approved CCF Executives, can attend the office with the office and a member of the Business Service Centre (BSC) team available to take your calls from 8.30am – 4.30pm only. This may be subject to change based on appropriate health advice and warnings regarding C-19 being received from State & Federal Government.
Another impact that the C-19 pandemic is having is on our commercial situation. A downturn in running training courses and the prospective downturn in membership revenues for the forthcoming financial year, means that we must take immediate action to reduce costs. While our aim is to retain our talented staff, we have had to apply a reduction in working hours across all staff in an effort to sustain the business and maintain services. This reduction also factors the changes in working environment and the remote access challenges.
In unprecedented times, these temporary adjustments are designed to enable us to get through this challenging period in supporting our industry and servicing members. While we will continue to keep abreast of developments, directly through “latest news” updates and regular bulletins, the best advice I can give you is to follow all health guidelines issued. Your failure to follow or comply with these, will impact on your ability to operate during these challenging times.
Finally, be prepared. You can expect this situation to worsen and your business continuity plans (BCP’s) must now be in place and be fluid to meet changing circumstances. This is a health crisis of major proportion and you should not rely purely on government support and subsidies. Should the Government take further steps in closing all but “essential services” this will have profound implications on the social and economic fabric of society as we know it.
CCF is here to help and support you through this difficult period …. you are not alone.
If you need help, support or advice you can contact me personally, your MSO, or one of the BSC team members on 1300 DIAL CCF.