‘It's not going to work’: Tradie's anger over harsh new rules for construction industry

Kamilia Palu
·News Editor
·2-min read

Frustrated tradesmen have criticised the Victorian Government’s latest set of coronavirus guidelines, claiming the strict Stage 4 restrictions simply won't work.

The new restrictions were announced on Tuesday as 439 new COVID cases emerged, confirming a major cutback for the construction industry.

Under the latest rules, only critical infrastructure or emergency repairs jobs are allowed to be run as normal.

Any large scale construction – projects of more than three storeys – will be forced to temporarily step down 75 per cent of workers.

Tradesman Peter Nentis stands with a reporter on a worksite in Melbourne's inner-city.
Tradesman Peter Nentis says the government's construction site restrictions simply "won't work". Source: A Current Affair

Projects of three storeys or less are only allowed a maximum of five workers onsite, including the supervisor.

All operating jobs must have a COVID Safe Plan and workers must not travel between sites during the Stage Four period.

The restrictions were met with frustration from tradies, with workers at one site in Melbourne claiming there was no point keeping a job open with only five workers.

“If you have five blokes on this job, the job can’t run, the job will be shut down,” tradesman Peter Nentis told A Current Affair.

“Why not just say, ‘shut the job down’? Three floors and lower – shut the job down.”

“It’s not going to work, simple as that.”

A worker looks out over a construction site in Melbourne on March 30, 2020 as work continues on some building sites despite the government closing down many non-essential services to curb the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus.
Only 25 per cent of workers are allowed to remain on large scale projects higher than three storeys. Source: Getty/FILE

Steve, a site manager, fears jobs running under reduced numbers will fail.

“I need 15-20 guys operating in here for this to work otherwise I doubt if it’ll be open,” he said.

The plans are expected to remain in place until at least September 13.

It is estimated an additional 250,000 jobs will be lost in Victoria’s Stage 4 lockdown.

The state’s daily coronavirus cases were in the 400s for a second consecutive day, while a further 11 deaths were confirmed.

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