COVID-19 update - 26 March

26 March 2020

No big changes have been announced in the last 24 hours impacting the construction industry. Construction remains an essential service and open for business.

This COVID-19 member update is unlocked and free to all in the interests of the building and construction industry. Did you know members have exclusive access to information and our team of experts who are on hand to assist in a range of ways? Need more specific COVID-19 advice relating to contracts, WHS, employment conditions or the relief measures? Members can contact us or learn how to join so you can speak with our experts and get free advice.

Border shutdowns

The industry is exempt to border shutdowns (including airline travel) when travelling for work.

*UPDATED* If you are a Queenslander and travel frequently for work, you can apply for a Queensland Entry Pass. If you’re not a Queensland resident, to enter Queensland you'll need to apply for a border pass here.

Regardless, we recommend factoring in delays if you are crossing the border by car, and have documentation - letter, business cards, or a contract with a site address, to demonstrate why you are travelling.

Social distancing and hygiene remain #1 priority 

You must put in place measures to address social distancing and hygiene requirements or the industry will face shutdown with disastrous impact on the economy.

Fortunately, construction lends itself easily to enforcing the social distancing laws. You've got the ability to: work in small groups, stagger scheduling to minimise contact and work outdoors. And we've got more initiatives for you to follow here.

By following these measures, we'll be able to stay open and keep as many jobs safe - so let’s do it together.

Lobbying for industry continues

We and Master Builders Associations across the country are working with governments, other industry bodies and unions for the best outcomes for building businesses and their staff.

With Queensland and Australian economies being so reliant on construction, shutting the industry would have a devastating affect on so many people and their livelihoods.

It's our number one priority to keep you as an essential service for as long as possible.

We've been in constant contact with Minister De Brenni regarding our calls to delay the latest round of BIF laws and taking the focus off MFR reporting compliance and focusing on helping the industry through this time.

In addition to the raft of relief and stimulus measures we called for last week, we're specifically calling for the Queensland Government to give a public commitment to relaxing liquidated damages and enabling extensions without penalty for state government jobs. We have also called on them to encourage the private sector to do the same.

Master Builders Australia has launched a campaign seeking the same outcomes at a federal level.

We will keep you updated on our progress.

Supply chain good news

Suppliers of concrete, cement, steel, windows, bricks, wood and cladding are all reporting good stock levels in Australia. There are some specific problems emerging in some line items, but for the most part an alternative can be sourced, or an Australian-based manufacturer can ramp up production.

Factories in China are coming back online while ones in Europe are shutting down. Australian-based factories and logistics are operating as normal.

If you are experiencing a delay, read more about dealing with it contractually.

Over the coming months there will be the challenge of price hikes on imports following the fall in the Australian dollar. Some manufacturers sourcing materials from overseas are reporting price hikes in the order of 10-15 per cent within the next two months.

Information you need

We've got the information you need on:

Help and advice

As usual, our staff are here to help. Whether you've got a question about protecting your business contractually, an employment or a health and safety question, our specialists are here and available to talk you through the options - get in touch.

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