To: CCF Victoria staff, members and stakeholders.
Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update – From the CEO Desk.
For all the Dad’s receiving this update, may I extend my personal greetings for Father’s Day. I trust you have had the opportunity to spend “quality time” with those loved ones close to you at home, and also those who cannot visit you via virtual means.
By now, all of us have heard the Premier’s announcement today for the “road map” out to a “COVID norm” environment. As I stated in my CEO update last week, we did not expect to see any major changes to the current stage 4 restrictions, which have now been extended at least until Monday, 28 September 2020 with a further easing to “COVID Norm” not expected until November. The key message here is that the future easing of restrictions by the State Government and the Chief Health Officer (CHO) will be driven by the numbers. That is, the number of positive cases recorded in our metro and regional communities in the weeks and months ahead.
When Melbourne was in Stage 3 restrictions, it was taking an average of 49 days to cut the number of C-19 cases in half. Under current stage 4 restrictions, this has been achieved in 18 days. At the same time under current modelling ,we’re likely to be averaging around 60 cases a day by next weekend. The last time restrictions were eased, the average number of cases was around 10 a day.
The Premier re-stated at his Press Conference ..… “if we go too far too soon, the modelling also tells us we’d be on track for a third wave by mid-November. That’d mean we’re back to where we are now, maybe even worse. Days, weeks, months of sacrifice – gone. Confidence for business – destroyed. More families suffering. More lives lost. It’s why, even as we release a roadmap for reopening, it’s got to be done in safe, steady and sustainable steps.”
Last week, I participated in a series of important engagement sessions with the Department of Jobs, Precincts & Regions (DJPR), in the development of a series of “Road Maps” to a “COVID Norm” for the Building & Construction Industry. Under the 6 key principles for industry, detailed plans were developed for relevant sub-sectors (ie: early stage works, small scale development, large scale development & Ancillary Services to enable a “staged” easing of restrictions with appropriate “High Risk CovidSafe Plans” in place.
We saw last week clarity around the easing of definitions supporting early stage development and small sale construction, with early stage development now including “base stage” works. I refer you to the following definition under stage 4 restrictions updated on the Business Victoria website last week, ie: What are the rules for civil construction?
All civil works and all building and construction activities (whether publicly or privately funded) are subject to the large- scale, small scale and early stage land development restrictions unless those activities:
- are any works up to (and including) the ‘base stage’ works for small scale residential construction, under the definition of the Domestic Building Contracts Act 1995External link (opens in same window)
- constitute construction of critical and essential infrastructure (see above); or
- constitute critical repairs to any premises where required for emergency and safety, as provided for by the Stage 4 Restrictions “Permitted Work Premises” published on the DHHS websiteExternal link (opens in same window).
Our submission to Government and DJPR was well researched, evidence based and with a clear “road map” under the key criteria’s for each sub-sector collaboratively supported by employer groups and unions. I received a formal briefing this afternoon from relevant Ministers and DJPR and I refer you to the attached series of “road maps” for the Building & Construction Industry, that have now been released below as per the link:
- Early Stage Development https://www.vic.gov.au/sites/default/files/2020-09/Industry-restriction-level-Construction-early-stage-land-development.docx
# you will note that density restrictions will increase from 10 to 20 workers per hectare on 28 September (Restricted) and no restrictions in November (Open with COVIDSafe Plan) subject to C-19 numbers targets being achieved during this period to enable the easing of restrictions.
- Small Scale Construction https://www.vic.gov.au/sites/default/files/2020-09/Industry-restriction-level-Construction-small-scale.docx
There has been an easing of restrictions for specialists contractors will now be able to visit up to 5 sites per week with a maximum of 2 movements per day.
- Large Scale Construction https://www.vic.gov.au/sites/default/files/2020-09/Industry-restriction-level-Construction-large-scale.docx
# you will note that there has been movement on the daily number of workers which will increase from 25% to 85% of the baseline workforce from 28 September (Restricted) and no restrictions in late November (Open with COVIDSafe Plan) subject to C-19 numbers targets being achieved during this period to enable the easing of restrictions.
With all of the above sub-sectors, you will note reference to the current version 7 of the Industry guidelines. These guidelines and your adherence to these has enabled us to successfully advocate to Government on your behalf.
The Q&A’s and guidelines will continue to progressively be released on the Business Victoria website and I continue to encourage you to check this website for regular updates. https://www.business.vic.gov.au/disputes-disasters-and-succession-planning/covid-safe-business/construction-sector-guidance.
A number of critical areas are still being worked upon for clarification and will be released progressively over the ensuing week/s. These include:
- Construction industry guidelines (version 8 for Open with COVIDSafe Plan) and noting the inclusion of HIA making space guidelines;
- Worker bubble shifts (large scale construction);
- Worker movements between sites;
- Owner occupied developments;
- Specialist services including – designers & urban planners;
- Client meetings;
- Office based activities;
- Display homes:
- Audit / accreditation
- Ancillary services
Our message to Government has been consistent and clear ….. “As a Building & Construction Industry we remain positive, noting that our industry wants to get back to stage 3 as soon as possible. We have continued to collaborate as a united group of employer associations and unions, and we thank the Government for their consultation with this group over the last few weeks. Our members are very much looking forward to getting back to work as soon as possible.”
Until my next update …. keep well – keep safe.
CEO, CCF Victoria