Update on COVID-19 announcements: Victoria

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COVID-19 Update: Stage 4 Business Restrictions – Updated Changes to Permitted Work Premises

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COVID-19 Update: Stage 4 Business Restrictions – Updated Changes to Permitted Work Premises

The Victorian Government has released a new and upgraded list of 'Permitted Work Premises' that includes a number of industry sectors that were not previously allowed to open. This may impact on your business as it differs from the previous Stage 4 Industry List, issued earlier this week.

Some sectors that were previously listed as closed or restricted, are now included as 'Permitted Work Premises'. It is important to recheck if your sector is allowed to remain open by reviewing the new list which is available at the DHHS website.

This List forms part of the Victorian Chief Health Officer's directive on Stage 4 Business Restrictions, provided by government late on Wednesday 5 August 2020 (last night) and which became effective today for metropolitan Melbourne. Mitchell Shire remains at Stage 3 restrictions with the rest of Victoria.

The new list allows for a greater number of work premises to remain open. This includes the manufacture of metal fabrication products, food and beverage packaging, polymer and rubber products, basic chemical products, and primary metal products. This resulted from lengthy discussions we had with the State Government yesterday.

Information about restricted operations or industry specific obligations, such as construction sites, meat and seafood processing, and distribution centres are no longer included. However, the restrictions will be implemented largely as previously announced, and this will be confirmed by the State Government in coming days.

Unless an exception applies, only 'Permitted Work Premises' are able to operate and have employees on-site during the restricted activity period, if it is not reasonably practicable for the employees to work from home. It is not sufficient to be at the workplace only because it is more convenient.

Manufacturing sectors that were previously flagged to close or be restricted have been added to the list of Permitted Work Premises, these being:
  • Manufacturing of metal fabrication products
  • Manufacturing of food and beverage packaging
  • Manufacturing of polymer and rubber products
  • Manufacturing of basic polymers
  • Manufacturing of other basic chemical products
  • Manufacturing of primary metal and metal products
In addition:
  • Manufacturing to support residential building industry has changed to Manufacturing of building supplies to support construction
  • Medical equipment and PPE including cloth masks has changed to Manufacturing of medical equipment, consumables and personal protective equipment (PPE), including the manufacturing and supply of cloth masks and required raw materials
The definition of "ancillary businesses" has been clarified to add that "the business cannot operate on-site for any other purpose".

Members that are allowed to continue to operate as Permitted Work Premises are reminded that:
  • They must complete and implement a COVID Safe Plan that is compliant with directions by 11:59 pm on Friday 7 August. A template is available at: https://www.business.vic.gov.au/disputes-disasters-and-succession-planning/covid-safe-business/covid-safe-plan);
  • They must issue all their employees who will be attending a workplace a Worker Permit under the Permitted Worker Scheme;
  • If an employee working at a Permitted Work Premises requests, issue an Onsite Childcare/Kindergarten Permit;
  • An employee working from home can also apply for a different Childcare Permit in some circumstances;
  • The new restrictions clarify that unions are permitted to exercise their rights of entry for WHS purposes.

All the Permits above must be in the prescribed format. Guidance and permit proformas are available at: https://www.business.vic.gov.au/disputes-disasters-and-succession-planning/coronavirus-covid-19/permitted-worker-scheme

Please do not hesitate to contact the Workplace Advice Line on 1300 55 66 77 or workplaceadvice@aigroup.com.au for further advice, and you can get access to up-to-date resources at the COVID-19 advice and resources for members page on our website. Any questions about JobKeeper should be sent to jobkeeper@aigroup.com.au.