To: CCF Victoria staff, members and stakeholders.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update – From the CEO desk.

This morning, the Premier – the Hon Daniel Andrews, made a series of important announcements regarding the extension of COVID-19 Stage 3 restrictions across the state.

The following is a brief summary of his announcement:

“Most of today’s cases are in metro areas. But we have seen a significant jump in regional communities. It’s vital we stop this virus further seeping into regional Victoria.  Last week, and based on the latest in scientific study, we announced that face coverings would be mandatory in metropolitan Melbourne and Mitchell Shire.

Today, and in line with the advice of the Chief Health Officer, I can announce that same requirement will apply across regional Victoria.  That means from Sunday 2 August at 11:59pm, a face covering will be mandatory whenever you leave home – and wherever you live. I understand this will a big step for some. But by covering your face, you’re protecting your community, and protecting those extra freedoms your community enjoys.

By covering your face, you’re keeping local businesses open, and keeping local people in work. There are, unfortunately, other changes we need to make. To date, new cases in regional communities have largely been contained to workplaces. Increasingly though, in some locations, we’re seeing a different kind of spread.

That’s why, from 11:59pm tonight, and in the local government areas of Colac-Otway, Greater Geelong, Surf Coast, Moorabool, Golden Plains, and the Borough of Queenscliffe, you will no longer be able to visit people or have visitors at home. Understandably, there’ll be plenty of questions about why this and not that. Why you can have dinner together at a restaurant – but not at a mate’s place. And the simple truth is, the data. The data is telling us that outside work, this is the single greatest cause of transmission in these communities. People are visiting friends and family – and taking the virus home with them.”

Positive Cases

There were 723 new positive cases reported in Victoria yesterday following a week’s daily low of 295 on Tuesday. Several further positive cases have been reported in our industry since the last update. There are two outbreaks on sites in Victoria, with workplace mapping underway to identify and isolate close and casual contacts. Incolink asymptomatic testing is being followed up on those sites for the remainder of the workforces.

Building & Construction Industry Working Group

Further to my CEO update yesterday please find a link to the latest Revision 6 of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Guidelines for the Building and Construction Industry Victoria, and an explanatory note supporting this release last Tuesday.

I also remind CCF members introduction of new Temporary Occupational Health and Safety (COVID-19 Incident Notification) Regulations 2020 (OHS COVID-19 Regulations).  Further information is available on the WorkSafe website here:

Face Masks

With the announcement made by the Premier of extending Stage 3 restrictions and the wearing of Face Masks across the state into Regional Victoria, our HSEQ Officer – Trevor Derham, has received a number of enquiries regarding the wearing of Face Masks on construction sites.

We confirm that Face Masks and coverings are to be considered essential PPE in the workplace and as an employer, you have a duty of care to:

  • Make PPE available to your employees
  • Modify SWMS to reference Face coverings, Safety Goggle, Face shields etc. as mandatory PPE.
  • Reference the activities, which will require the application of such PPE as a control.
  • Ensure that you consult & communicate with your employees around your expectation that they wear the appropriate PPE.
  • Ensure that employees sign to acknowledge that they have read, understood & agree to be bound by the new requirements.
  • Continue to monitor for compliance

Revision 6 of COVID-19 Guidelines for the Building & Construction Industry Victoria is an excellent reference source in this regard.  Please do not hesitate to contact our HSEQ Officer, Trevor Derham, either by email or mobile (0458) 363-368, if you have any further queries, or require clarification.

HomeBuilder Grant Scheme Update

Further to my advice earlier in the week, CCF National has developed a position paper and submitted to the Hon Michael Sukkar MP, Assistant Treasurer and Minister for Housing.

The basis for our submission is that:

  • CCF members are advising the 31 March 2021 deadline on construction commencement is unrealistic;
  • CCF is aware of unreasonable demands being placed on civil work contractors to commence preparatory works within unmanageable timeframes;
  • CCF anticipates industry members, including civil contractors, sub-contractors and suppliers will have increasingly unworkable demands placed upon them as the construction commencement deadline nears;
  • the Scheme’s overarching timeframes need to be urgently amended to achieve a nationally consistent approach to this matter;
  • CCF is seeking the Minister’s support to formally implement a (3) three-month extension to the Scheme, with the deadline for the completion of significant earthworks to be amended from 31 March 2021 to 30 June 2021. 

While CCF understands that in certain circumstances the requirement to commence construction within three months of the contract date may be extended by up to three months if commencement is delayed due to unforeseen factors outside the control of the parties. However, CCF contends his three-month extension should have universal application.     

I will keep CCF members abreast of further developments in this matter as they arise, through our advocacy efforts.

Until my next update …. keep well – keep safe.

Kind regards

John Kilgour

CEO, CCF Victoria