Construction hours extended to support industry during COVID-19

Construction hours extended to support industry during COVID-19
Construction hours extended to support industry during COVID-19

Construction hours have been extended today by the New South Wales Government in a bid to "encourage businesses to keep going".

Construction sites can now operate on weekends and public holidays under new rules introduced to support the industry during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Planning and Public Spaces Minister Rob Stokes said the move allows workers to abide by social distancing rules while keeping construction projects progressing by allowing building work to be spread across more days of the week.

“The construction and development sectors, which make up almost ten per cent of NSW’s economy, will be vital in keeping people in jobs and keeping investment flowing over the coming weeks and months,” Mr Stokes said.

“We’re doing what we can to support the industry in line with the current medical advice by extending weekday construction site operating hours to weekends and public holidays.

“The extended hours allow the industry to facilitate social distancing on construction sites, while minimising the potential for lost productivity during the pandemic.”

The Environmental Planning and Assessment (COVID-19 Development – Construction Work Days) Order 2020 is now in place and will continue until the COVID-19 pandemic is over, or the advice of NSW Health changes.

“In NSW there are almost 400,000 people employed in the property and construction industry and we are committed to doing everything we can to keep each of them in work, but most importantly, to keep them safe and healthy,” Mr Stokes said.

The Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 was amended on 24 March to enable Mr Stokes to issue orders that override normal planning controls during the COVID-19 pandemic to ensure the health, safety and welfare of communities.

Compliance with this Order will be monitored and reviewed if there are any adverse impacts on the community or from a public health perspective.

Construction workers have been concerned for their health safety and job security after tradespeople from two sites tested positive for coronavirus. 

As the sector employs 9.2 per cent of the workforce, a shutdown of the sector would have led to catastrophic job losses. 

In the aftermath of the housing downturn in 2019, approximately 50,000 construction jobs were lost when the total labour market decreased from its peak of 9.5 per cent a year earlier. 

Industry lobbyists have also argued that building sites need to keep function in spite of deferral restrictions in order to support such critical infrastructure as new health facilities.

Construction Nsw Government

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