NSW Bans Construction Amid Rising COVID-19 Cases
Published 7:01 am 20 Jul 2021
A ban was placed on all non-urgent construction within New South Wales amid rising COVID-19 cases.
Cases of the Delta strain of COVID-19 have continued to spike across the country with Victoria reporting 12 new cases today and NSW reporting 98.
The increases in case numbers have prompted a tightening of lockdowns in both Victoria and NSW, including a ban on all construction and non-essential maintenance in NSW from today until the 30th of July.
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian announced that construction would be prohibited at 11 am at a COVID-19 press conference on Saturday.
We know this is a big decision,” NSW Premier Berejiklian said at the conference.
“We know the impact this will have on businesses small and large. But we really need to reduce mobility and we need to reduce the chances of anybody adding the virus in their workplace, spreading it to work colleagues and then bringing it home.”
“Our best chance of allowing that to happen is to put a pause on all those worksites between now and July 30.”
The construction ban will cover Greater Sydney, the Blue Mountains, Shellharbour, the Central Coast, and Wollongong, and will mean that large-scale government projects such as the Sydney Metro and WestConnex will be put on halt until further notice.
Construction is the fourth-largest employer in the country, and as such, the shutdown is expected to cost Sydney upwards of $800 million per week, on top of the $1 billion per week that the lockdowns are already estimated to cost the city.
The construction ban has outraged those within the industry, prompting convoys of trucks to line up along the city honking and blocking traffic in protest.
My brother who works in construction took this video. Construction trucks honking & lined up in protest on City West Link. Similar scenes on the Anzac and Harbour Bridges. This is the first time construction in NSW has been shut down due to the pandemic. Clearly not happy Gladys pic.twitter.com/QV952sv7u5
— Antoinette Lattouf (@antoinette_news) July 17, 2021
Publicly-listed construction companies have also felt the heat from the ban, and several have seen their share prices drop today.
Rumours emerged that the construction ban would be lifted, however, the NSW Premier dismissed the rumour, stating that the NSW Government has “bitten the bullet,” and will continue to go ahead with the nearly two-week halt on construction.
“What we can’t have is people, especially who may not even have symptoms, visiting multiple worksites, visiting construction sites with hundreds of workers and spreading the disease. That is a threat that was too great,” said Berejiklian.
While NSW has implemented new COVID-19 support payments for those who have had their work prevented or hours reduced by the lockdowns, some fear that the payments will not cover the losses incurred by construction companies.
The Business NSW CEO Daniel Hunter echoed these fears, stating that:
“Ceasing construction projects and non-essential trades will cost people their jobs and livelihoods. There’s no sugar-coating it, some small businesses won’t recover.”
Mr. Hunter continued to say that “all tradies will have their income cut off for a minimum two-week period. They will be eligible for some of the support packages but that won’t replace all the lost revenue.”
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