"The Victorian economy cannot afford to withstand a two-week lockdown of the construction industry which will have far reaching impacts on businesses throughout the state and beyond," Tim Piper, Victorian Head of the peak employer association Ai Group said today.
"The shutdown will have a huge impact on the 111,112 construction industry businesses operating in Victoria which according to 2020 data amounted to almost 17% of all businesses in the State. Considering the number of businesses currently shut down, construction has been playing a disproportionate role in keeping our economy alive.
"The industry itself is large – both in metro and regional areas – and combined with the services that operate within the building industry and its supply chain, the manufacturers and suppliers of steel, concrete, bricks, timber, wiring, waste and associated logistics, it is the single largest industrial sector in the State.
"The Government should provide its own cost estimates (including numbers of workers and businesses who will be affected) when announcing shutdowns such at this. This would demonstrate that they have taken all factors and impacts into account and that their decision had been properly thought through. It would help dismiss any view that the closure was a kneejerk response to riotous behaviour.
"This two-week lockdown of the construction industry will take months to repair. It is not simply a matter of turning a switch on and off.
"This is a vastly damaging shutdown that will affect many businesses and people. We must focus on ensuring COVID-safe construction workplaces through compliance measures and cooperation rather than using a blunt, untargeted shutdown.
"If we have to live with a two-week construction industry shutdown, the Government should stick to that timing and reopen within the fortnight," Mr Piper said.
Tim Piper – 0411 430 301