Business NSW asks for construction sites to reopen

by Mike Wood21 Jul 2021

The chief executive of Business NSW has made a plea to the Premier, Gladys Berejiklian, to reopen construction sites ahead of schedule.

Currently, sites are shut until 30 July at the earliest, but Daniel Hunter has asked for it to be brought forward by a week to 26 July to stave off economic issues at many SMEs and other businesses that employ construction workers.

“It is estimated the construction industry closedown is going to cost the NSW economy between $800 million and $1 billion a week, in addition to the wider lockdown making this a $2 billion per week problem for businesses,” said Hunter.

“Our economy relies on construction, and its supports hundreds of thousands of people and their livelihoods. We would like to see a re-opening of building sites early, in a safe but reduced way,”

“By announcing a re-opening date of next Monday, it will give those businesses without a proper COVID Safe plan time to develop one, and give an opportunity for businesses to order and receive materials in time for a recommencement of trade.”

Hunter drew comparisions with the situation in Victoria, where a small percentage of sites remain open.

“When confronted with similar issues, the Victorian Government allowed 25 per cent of the regular workforce for large construction projects, and a maximum of five workers and a supervisor for smaller jobs,” he said.

“For outdoor sites, we should allow a set number of workers per hectare, considering outdoor transmissions of the virus is less of a risk than indoors.

“Everyone is aware of the dangers of the Delta variant, however the current blanket close down of this industry is disastrous for the economy, with many businesses forced to permanently close.

“We are facing a significant mental health crisis with so many workers unable to earn a living in a safe way. “I cannot stress enough the importance of getting vaccinated as soon as possible, in order to reopen our economy,