Builders in Victoria warn that the two-week shutdown is likely to have a long-term impact on the industry and would most likely add additional delays onto construction time frames across the state.
A two-week ban on construction in metro Melbourne and in Victorian areas subject to lockdown restrictions has left projects big and small in disarray.
Melbourne-based builder Amrinder Singh whose firm specialises in building homes across the city said the shutdown could have a "devastating" impact on the industry already beleaguered by COVID-induced issues, including broken supply chains and the immobilisation of workforces.
"It can take up to months for the construction industry to be fully operational after this two-week lockdown, which would further blow out the build-time for homeowners desperately waiting for handovers," he warned.
- Builders warn of long-term financial impact and build-time blowouts due to construction shutdown in Victoria
- Self-employed tradies and small builders say they have been "unfairly" caught up in the blanket shutdown
- Construction workers seek financial assistance to survive the two-week lockdown period
On 21 September, construction in metropolitan Melbourne, Geelong, Ballarat, the Surf Coast and Mitchell Shires was brought to a halt by the state government, with limited exempts for workers to attend closed sites to respond to emergencies or perform urgent and essential work, following violent protests across the CBD.
The protests were sparked by the government's decision requiring all construction workers to receive at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine in order to work from 24 September.
Announcing the shutdown last week, state treasurer Tim Pallas cited "widespread non-compliance" and concern about rising case numbers and multiple outbreaks linked to the sector as reasons behind the decision.
Expressing his concern over the long-term impact of the shutdown on the industry, Mr Singh said apart from homeowners and businesses involved in construction, the decision is also likely to burn a hole in the economy.
"Construction workflow is highly interlinked, and any halt in the building process is likely to have an impact on everyone involved, be it the builders, tradies, truckies, or property owners.
"With so many businesses forced out of action, the decision to halt work for two weeks is also likely to impact the state's economy, which is highly dependent on the construction industry and would further elevate the cost of the lockdown," he said.
The construction industry in Victoria is the fourth largest employer in the state, with land transfers accounting for more than 40 per cent of the state's tax revenue.
'Work has stopped, but we are still paying the cost of keeping our business afloat'
Frustrated by the state government's snap lockdown on construction, Melbourne-based truck tipper business owner Avtar Johal said small business operators have been "unfairly" caught up by the blanket shutdown.
"Work has stopped, but we still have to pay our loans, insurance and rego costs to keep the business operational," he said.
Mr Johal said workers must get vaccinated to safeguard the industry from further halts and to reduce transmission at building sites.
"Workers must adhere to the government's call for mandatory COVID jabs in order to keep the industry running and for the sake of their own health and safety," he said.
Meanwhile, calling out for financial assistance for industry workers, Rajesh Sharma an insulation installer based in Melbourne said the government must step up for those who are self-employed.
"Many tradies like me are working without the safety net of big companies. The state should at least announce some sort of financial supplement for their survival," he said.
Condemning the ongoing anti-vaccination protests, Mr Sharma said: "We are social animals, and we shouldn't put others' lives at risk merely on individual opinions on jabs."
"Independence is subjective to vaccination now, and we should follow the roadmap," he added.
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