Friday, 2 July 2021.

To: CCF Victoria staff, members and industry stakeholders.

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

Good afternoon.

Update on Positive Cases and Outbreaks

There were zero new locally acquired positive cases reported in Victoria again yesterday with 3 cases acquired overseas in hotel quarantine and now 32 active cases in total.

Without going into detail about other states, it appears that NSW is still very concerned about the current ‘Bondi’ outbreak, whilst the situation is easing in Queensland, Perth and Darwin with a ceasing of ‘stay at home’ orders announced.  

National Cabinet met this morning and amidst the recently reported differences of opinion about hotel quarantine, the numbers of overseas arrivals and the vaccine rollout – an agreed 4 stage plan emerged to reopen Australia and get back to normal.

The first phase of this plan involves:

  • Lockdowns to be used as a last resort;
  • Greater use of the Howard Springs quarantine centre in the NT;
  • Home quarantine to be trialled for fully vaccinated overseas arrivals;
  • Capped entry of students and international visas;
  • Temporary reduction (50%) in number of international arrivals from 14 July;

The second phase of the plan would ease domestic restrictions and allow more travel to and from Australia when an as yet undetermined percentage of Australians are fully vaccinated.

Phase 3 would involve treating coronavirus like any other infectious disease eg: influenza, and Phase 4 is back to normal.

A reminder that community restrictions in Victoria that were expected to be eased at midnight last night have been deferred for another week. The Density Quotient remains at 1 person per 4 square metres and Face Masks must still be carried at all times and worn when you cannot physically distance 1.5 metres.  

QR Codes

As of yesterday – 1 July, all businesses (including all sectors of the building and construction industry) are required to install and use the Service Vic QR code on their premises.

It’s easy to do and keen observers would have noticed a feature on TV news bulletins last night of construction workers checking in using the QR Code at the Multiplex site at 308 Exhibition St.

Yesterday, the new Workplace Directions (No 35) issued last night provides an exemption for early stage land developments – excluding any site offices at that location. I refer you to the attached CHO Directions No. 35 regarding QR Code and exemption for Early Stage Developments.

It follows that Small Scale Construction and Large Scale Construction is required to comply but Early Stage Developments without a site office (ie: vacant land) receives an exemption, ie:

6 (11) An employer is not required to comply with subclause (7) in relation to Work Premises that are:

(a)      schools, childcare or early childhood services and outside school hours care services in respect of all students, teachers and other school staff (but not visitors, contractors or other workers); or

Note: educational facilities (other than schools and childcare or early childhood services and outside school hours care services) are required to comply with subclause (7).

(b)            care facilities in respect of residents; or

(c)            a health service entity; or

(d)            farms in respect of workers and other persons attending for work-related purposes; or

(e)            premises where pre-ordered goods are being delivered via contactless delivery; or

Example: a meal delivery service driver attending a premises to drop a meal ordered via an app at the door is not required to check-in at that premises.

(f)              a private residence attended by workers for the purposes of undertaking work; or

Note: this excludes common property areas governed by an owners corporation.

(g)            a prisonremand centreyouth residential centre, or youth justice centre; or

(h)            a site operated by COVID-19 Quarantine Victoria; or

(i)              public transport or a stop or station for passenger services of a public transport service; or

(j)              a site where the use of electronic devices is prohibited due to safety concerns; or

Example: petrochemical bulk storage and transport, and other flammable liquids sites.

(k)             a school bus; or

(l)              an early stage land development site, excluding any site office at that site.

Example: workers conducting scoping work on empty land prior to the commencement of construction will not be required to check-in using the Victorian Government QR code system.  However, a worker entering a site office on otherwise empty land will need to check-in to that office using the Victorian Government QR code system.

10 (23) Definition of early stage 

early stage land development site means an open air, greenfields site where civil works are being undertaken that are associated with, and preparatory to, the construction of multiple individual residential dwellings or an industrial or commercial development on that site, including but not limited to:

(a)     site remediation works; and

(b)     site preparation works; and

(c)     construction of utilities, roads, bridges and trunk infrastructure; and

(d)     stormwater or flood management works;

but such a site ceases to be an early stage land development site:

(e)     for a residential development where the development is, or will be, subdivided to facilitate the construction of individuals dwellings, on the day that the construction of a dwelling on that part of the subdivision (or planned subdivision) of the early stage land development site commences; and

(f)      for a residential development where the development has not been subdivided and it is not intended that the development will be subdivided in the future, on the day that construction commences; and

Examples: this type of residential development includes a high-rise apartment complex or a retirement village.

(g)     for an industrial or commercial development, on the day that construction of a building, warehouse or other physical structure commences;

This is good news for the civil construction industry and provides greater clarity for employers and workers in our sectors where work is being undertaken in the “open air” and on vacant and wide spread land areas.  Effectively these directions mean, as soon as a site office is in place – check in with the QR Code.

Until my next update – keep well – keep safe.

Kind regards