1. State Government Announcement – Face Masks To Help Fight Coronavirus In Victoria

The State Government today has announced that Victorians living in metro Melbourne and Mitchell Shire are now recommended to wear face masks in situations where they are leaving their home and physical distancing is not possible – to help slow the spread of coronavirus in the community.  Premier Daniel Andrews announced the new recommendations from the Chief Health Officer would apply from today, following new evidence from global medical experts and increased community transmission in Victoria.

The Victorian Government will order over two million reusable masks and one million more single-use masks to ensure more Victorians have access to this added protection while also boosting local manufacturing capability.  Studies have recently shown that, even when factoring in imperfections and human error, wearing face masks can reduce transmission of Coronavirus by around 60 per cent. Before this study, advice around the effectiveness of face masks in reducing transmission has been contradictory and lacking in evidence.

Victoria’s Chief Health Officer has now updated his advice to recommend anyone living in metro Melbourne or Mitchell Shire to wear a face covering or cloth mask when leaving home for one of the four permitted reasons – where it is not possible to maintain a distance of at least 1.5 metres from other people.  These recommendations apply to adults over the age of 18, recognising both the lower transmission and disease severity in younger people, but also the difficulty in getting children to wear a face mask properly. The recommendation does not apply to wearing masks in schools and early childhood settings.

Anyone who lives outside metropolitan Melbourne and Mitchell Shire should follow the same advice if they need to enter an area currently under Stage 3 Stay at Home restrictions.  This is a health recommendation only and will not be enforced – people will not be fined for not wearing a face mask.

2. What does this mean for the Building & Construction Industry?

Consultation is now being undertaken by the State Government with union and industry groups about whether the advice around face masks in the workplace needs to also be updated.  Noting the developments this week with the increasing number of positive Covid-19 cases in the community and also in the Building and Construction Industry specifically (8 this week so far), various discussions have been held over recent days regarding further steps that may need to be taken in the Building and Construction Industry.

Arising from a representative group meeting this morning convened by the Master Builders Victoria, consideration is now being given to enhancing version 4 of the Industry Guidelines by incorporating wearing of masks in relevant circumstances and temperature testing screening on site entry. 

These details will also have regard to the various DHHS and Government announcements made this afternoon. Additional steps are also being considered for assisting contact tracing activities on site where required.

Relevant details are now being drafted for version 5 of the Guidelines, which will be review by the Industry Working Group early next week.  In the meantime I encourage you to continue to observe the existing Guidelines previously issued as a minimum.  This current version (version 4), is available on the CCF Victoria website via the attached link. https://www.ccfvic.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/Explanatory-Note_Industry-Guidelines_Rev-4_240620.pdf

3. Letter of Authorisation Civil Contractors Federation Member – Essential Services

I have received a number of personal requests in recent days from CCF members that with the introduction of Stage 3 restrictions in the greater Melbourne and Mitchell Shire, does CCF have a template, or letter of authorisation, recognising the contractors and their employee as a worker in “essential services”.

Further to my previous advice, I am encouraging all CCF members to ensure their workers have the following 3 items on their mobile device or tablet, to demonstrate and identify that they are an “essential services” worker:

  • Construction Induction (CI) white card confirming that they actually work in the sector – all construction workers will have a valid CI card to identify who they are and that they are duly authorised / inducted to access construction / worksites;
  • Driver’s License or valid ID that will identify and validate the person stated on the CI white card as per above; and if that is not sufficient
  • letter of authorisation from their employer that will validate all of above;

To assist CCF members in this regard, we have developed a CCF Member letter / template for your use and placed this on the CCF Member Portal.  CCF Members can only access the template via the Member Portal. The Template is available for download in the Member Resources > Human Resources section.

Until my next update ….

Kind regards

John Kilgour

CEO, CCF Victoria