11.30 am – Tuesday, 25 May 2021.To: CCF Victoria staff, members and industry stakeholders.
Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update – From the CEO desk.
Victorian health officials have identified in the last 24 hours a total of five new positive cases of COVID-19 as authorities work to identify any “missing links”.
Additional COVIDSafe Measures announced today
On the advice of public health experts, from 6pm tonight private gatherings in the home will be limited to five visitors per day, public gatherings will be limited to 30 people and face masks will need to be worn indoors, unless an exemption applies. The face mask requirement applies everyone aged 12 years and older. These additional measures are an important extra precaution while we await the results of testing and undertake widespread contact tracing to stamp out the virus.
Schools and workplaces will remain open with the current restrictions that are in place. Depending on the workplace, this includes COVIDSafe measures and in some cases, a density requirement. There are no changes to existing density rules. Victorians who live in Greater Melbourne and need to travel to regional Victoria can still do so however, the restrictions travel with them. For example, if you visit someone outside of metropolitan Melbourne, they must not have more than five visitors to their home in that day. If you attend a public gathering outside of Greater Melbourne, it must not be bigger than 30 people. Victorians visiting regional Victoria from Melbourne will also need to wear a face mask when indoors even when outside of metropolitan Melbourne, unless an exemption applies. Hospital and aged care visitor restrictions will also now apply state-wide.
The additional measures do not apply to Regional Victoria non the less the message is clear around adhering to your COVIDsafe plans and wearing of masks where social distancing cannot be observed.
Use of the Service Victoria QR code service will still be mandatory in all venues and facilities required to have mandatory electronic record keeping from Friday, 28 May. However, due to the current circumstances, the government will pause on the move to remove the density quotient in outdoor spaces and venues to a maximum of 200 people in spaces smaller than 400 sqm. Timing for this easing will be reassessed when public health advice indicates it is appropriate to do so. The Public Health Advisory Panel will also provide advice as soon as possible to upcoming Tier 1 and Tier 2 events if any modifications will be required for the event to proceed.
All eligible Victorians are also being urged to get vaccinated as soon as possible. Appointments are available at sites across the state and at participating GP clinics, walk ins are also accepted at many sites. Check your eligibility and your nearest site now. For more information about current COVIDSafe settings, Victoria’s travel permit system and the vaccine program, you can visit www.coronavirus.vic.gov.au.
Building & Construction (B&C) Industry Working Group Update
Our B&C Industry Liaison Officer, Michael Paynter, is beginning to receive enquires from construction sites where staff or workforce members have visited one of the government’s Tier 1 sites, namely the Highpoint shopping centre, during the nominated timeframe.
The Department of Health website is requiring such persons to get tested and isolate UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE. At this stage, there is no requirement or recommendation for site cleaning procedures, however consistent with previous practices, you should advise anyone who has concerns to get tested. A list of exposure sites where there is a risk you may have been exposed to coronavirus (COVID-19) is available via the attached link. https://www.coronavirus.vic.gov.au/exposure-sites
Government reports consider that we are still in a precarious position. Other parts of the world, which are further advanced in the vaccine roll out, are seeing an increase in Coronavirus transmission. Complacency is our biggest issue with compliance rates and civic engagement continuing to decline.
The measures we have collectively designed to diminish the risk in the Industry are no longer at a level of compliance that provides any confidence we are prepared to defend an outbreak, as we were. I participated in a B&C Industry Working Group meeting last Friday to consider further initiatives to encourage compliance with our world class Industry Guidelines.
Our Guidelines are designed for a real purpose and have as much, if not more, relevance now than ever. Take a copy of the Guidelines with you on your site walks and mark up what is actually being done compared to what should be done – from screening attendances, wearing of masks when physical distancing is not possible, cleaning of facilities, through to recording the movement of workers.
This is not going away anytime soon. The industry has done such a fabulous job dealing with this pandemic, many of us fear that an absence of compliance and complacency now will render that investment wasted. I refer you to the recent article in The Age regarding an inevitable further outbreak.
- QR Code Service and Contactless Tracing
The government is stepping up its compliance on venues and businesses that are required to comply with its QR Code Service. Note that whilst the Building and Construction Industry is not mandated to use this service, it is a strong recommendation that any business that is NOT currently using an electronic contactless system, to use the free QR Code Service. The government intends to turn off the API connectivity to the QR Code service for 3rd party providers (1Breadcrumb, Hammertech, Contact Harald, and the like) on 28 May.
Representations have been made to the government seeking assurances that this action will not impact on the ability and timeliness of the Department of Health Contact tracing team to respond to any future outbreak in our industry.
All Victorians aged 50 and older can now get their Astra Zeneca vaccination at any of the high throughput sites around the metro and regional areas. By the end of this week there are at least 30 sites linked to the 1800 675 398 booking number – with Melbourne Showgrounds and Sandown Racecourse opening this week. See https://www.coronavirus.vic.gov.au/vaccine for further information
- Gold Standard
Several companies have enquired about the process to achieve the Gold Standard of compliance with the Industry COVID-19 Guidelines. This is a simple self-evaluation of compliance with the Guidelines undertaken by site safety committees via a checklist which is then kept on a register. CLICK HERE to see a copy of the Gold Standard check list.
Other Industry Related Matters
I have received advice recently from the EPA, promoting a series of webinars for business and industry in the lead up to the introduction of the new EPA Amendment Bill on 1 July 2021. The webinars include:
- The role of industry and business in protecting the environmentruns on 26 May and is targeted at anyone who owns or manages a business in Victoria or represents industry interests, along with consultants or those who provide professional advice to businesses on environmental matters. This is the session for those who have minimal knowledge of the new laws or what EPA does.
- The EPA webinar on 8 June is for the waste sector and discusses how Victoria’s environmental laws are changing and the new requirements for managing industrial waste.
For bookings, please refer the following links:
Date & time: 26 May 11.30am-12.30pm
Event: Waste Framework Overview
Date & time: 8 June 11.00am – 12.30pm
I look forward to catching up with many of you at the CCF Rail Sector Breakfast this Friday. With unprecedented levels of government spending on major infrastructure, this event will provide attendees with greater insight into the pipeline of works for major rail sector projects within Victoria.
Hear from Corey Hannett, Victoria’s Director-General – Major Transport Infrastructure Authority (MTIA) and Bede Noonan Chief Executive Officer – ACCIONA Geotech Holding Pty Ltd. For last minute bookings, click here for more details and to register https://www.ccfvic.com.au/events/ccf-2021-rail-sector-breakfast/
Until my next update …. keep well – keep safe.