Coronavirus (COVID-19) & DELWP Update – From the CEO desk.
Further to my previous CEO update this afternoon following announcements today by the Premier on the introduction of Stage 4 COVID-19 restrictions over the next 5 day periods, I have just concluded a briefing session with the State Government (DJPR) this evening. If you missed my CEO Update, please refer the attached link to the CCF website post. https://www.ccfvic.com.au/coronavirus-covid-19-update-from-the-ceo-desk-12-february-2021/
Update of Construction Activity during Circuit Breaker Shutdown
The meeting tonight was convened by the Industry Coordination Centre of DJPR. Government officials provided further clarification of the shutdown of the building, construction and development industry as follows:
Under the published summary of restrictions, essential construction services work will be permitted to continue for critical infrastructure work, including road construction services. We understand that essential work can continue on:
- projects that have already been listed as ‘State critical infrastructure projects’ or ‘Critical and essential infrastructure projects’ as listed at https://www.dhhs.vic.gov.au/victorias-restriction-levels-covid-19).
- construction and maintenance for the purposes of national security and defence, and
- critical infrastructure including road construction services.
The expectation is that few activities will meet these criteria and other construction will be paused in a safe manner. Any further permitted activity would only be considered in highly exceptional circumstances where urgently required for the purposes of sustaining human health, safety and wellbeing.
These restrictions impose stronger limits on construction activity than the 5 August 2020 Stage 4 restrictions. This reflects that the Circuit Breaker Action is intended to be a shorter, sharper lockdown with fewer exceptions.
There are a number of provisions in place for exemptions in regards to manufacturing, specifically the supply chain for critical infrastructure and export.
There was discussion earlier this afternoon regarding the need to issue permits for workers. This was positioned with DJPR and it was made clear this evening that there is NO requirement to obtain a permit to work, if you are working on a permitted site.
It was made also made clear that employers should use professional judgement in deciding what works need to be performed during the shutdown on safety grounds, either for the integrity of the structures, plant or equipment or of the safety of members of the public.
If it doesn’t really need to be done, wait until next Thursday. The underlying principle is ….. if works cannot be shut down because of SAFETY, then common sense prevails … SAFETY FIRST
CCF Member Enquiries
I have fielded a number of calls from CCF members late today seeking clarification on what works constitute “critical infrastructure” and whether they can continue works. Specifically, roads construction undertaken on “Greenfield” sites in the land development sector.
Some clients, including local government / councils and water authorities, are already instructing contractors not to undertake works on projects over the next 5 days. Where this occurs, it goes without saying but you should seek a variation in your contract for an extension of time under COVID-19 restrictions.
With regards to “Greenfield” sites question, specifically road construction works, I positioned this tonight with DJPR. Similarly the same question applies for utilities such as water, power & telecommunication as critical infrastructure on “Greenfield” sites. This was duly acknowledged, with DJPR committing to revert later this evening with written clarification on both these definitions.
I will forward a further update tomorrow morning once I have received formal advice this evening from the State Government (DJPR).
Until my next update …. keep well – keep safe.