Updates on the Melbourne Lockdown Extension Plus Tougher Restrictions for Building and Construction

Posted on 17 August 2021

Melbourne has been placed in lockdown for several weeks now – with 24 new local cases in Victoria alone, stricter lockdown restrictions had to be imposed. While it seems like this is a necessary thing to do, not everyone, of course, is happy about it.

The lockdown has been extended to two weeks more up to September 2 following reports of new COVID cases. The government decided to tighten the restrictions with new curfews requiring Melburnians to stay home from 9 pm to 5 am. Outdoor exercises will be limited with the closing of playgrounds, skate parks, and other exercise equipment. Authorised workers will have to start carrying permits once more starting at 11.59 pm on Tuesday.

With new restrictions approved, it means that industries will have to adjust to new regulations, no matter if they agree or disagree with them. For instance, Master Builders Victoria has expressed disappointment over the tougher restrictions implemented for the building and construction industry for the next two weeks despite only recording six positive cases.

Master Builders Victoria CEO Rebecca Casson expressed disappointment with the decision especially because tougher restrictions in the industry will result in a lasting and devastating impact on the sector. We can be reminded that repeated lockdowns last year, although it was needed to control infections, have already caused negative effects.

A member of the MBV made a statement about how much the stricter restrictions will have on the industry and would most likely cost them approximately $2.4 million in repeated fixed costs. This may come as a surprise, but after some disappointing behavior in public that occurred last weekend, the imposed restrictions could have been decided upon because of it. It was reported that 69 people attended an engagement party in Caulfield North and a pub crawl went place in Richmond, which both violated the rules.

Ms. Casson adds that the sector had consistently followed all the rules since last year and has kept all worksites safe. While it is true that the decision is from a health perspective, the sector has proven to be compliant and so far, since the pandemic began last year, the state has only recorded 148 cases overall.

When we talk about economic growth, we think of how it would stimulate its activity. The building and construction industry has been the biggest driver of growth and employment in Victoria. To date, it has supported 300,000 jobs and 46 percent of the state’s tax revenue.

The amount of money the sector will lose upon the imposing of lockdown is detrimental to the industry and workers. Ms. Casson states, “Although it is pleasing to see that MBV’s voice was listened to about increasing the amount of COVID Hardship funding support from $8,000 to $10,000, we will continue to advocate both State and Commonwealth governments for further financial support for all our members impacted by these most recent lockdown restrictions.”

Note: the latest changes will have no impact on regional Victoria, but metropolitan Melbourne workers must abide by the rules. For more information, check out the MBV website.

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