Daniel Andrews has delivered a message full of reassurance to the construction industry: not only is it safe to keep working, but we should expect plenty more work in the pipeline.
In an interview with ABC News about the state’s reaction to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Victorian Premier made it clear that the necessary precautions are being taken to keep workers in our industry safe, healthy and employed.
And in more great news for CFMEU members, he talked up the major role construction will play in the state’s economic recovery, with even more projects to be brought online once the worst of the current crisis passes.
“When we get to the other side of this, the biggest construction boom in our state’s history will need to be even bigger,” he told ABC News on Sunday.
“We will need to do more to protect jobs, to create new jobs, and make sure that we bounce back from this as strong as we possibly can.”
“Ultimately it’s safety that’s driving it”
The Labor Premier said there were many good reasons to keep our industry going during the crisis, and they began with safety.
“You can still be in the construction sector and observe some of the social distancing practices. It’s safe, that’s the medical advice.
"Beyond that, if you were to shut down some of these jobs, public and private, it’s not just flicking a switch.
“You’ve got to decommission equipment, you’ve got to do all sorts of things. So it becomes often very difficult to restart those jobs.
"But ultimately it’s safety that’s driving it.
"You can operate construction sites, albeit they’re all different, you can have that sector functioning and observe social distancing, increased hygiene. That’s the medical advice.
"If the advice changed, then the status of that sector would change.”
>>> The video is available on the ABC News website. The discussion on construction begins at around the 9 minute mark.
“Extreme health and safety measures in place”
The CFMEU has formed a taskforce with allied unions and industry groups to help protect our members during a time of unprecedented challenges.
“We are doing everything in our power - together with the other construction unions (ETU, PPTEU and AMWU) and the employer organisations - to be as proactive in keeping our industry and your jobs safe and secure,” Branch Secretary, John Setka, said in a recent video statement.
“We have put extreme health and safety measures in place to protect you and our industry.
“We are in daily contact with the Premier’s department and their team to ensure we get all the up-to-date and relevant information in regards to this virus and the impacts it is having in Victoria.
“There’s a lot of misinformation and confusion about this situation … There are a lot of rumours about the construction industry closing down, or being locked down.
“Try to not panic. We’re all in this together, and we will beat it together. Everyone is in the same boat. No one is excluded from it.”