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Construction “high in consideration for re-opening" and “constructive and professional”, says senior public servant leading Jobs Department’s COVID-19 recovery

Posted on Sept 03, 2020

Mr Alex Kamanev, Deputy Secretary of the Department of Jobs, Precincts and Regions, has said construction’s mitigation efforts have been noticed “at the highest levels of Government” and to expect some concrete announcements on construction in Sunday’s road map.

In a frank dialogue with Incolink members this morning Mr Kamanev acknowledged that the lock down to stage 4 was difficult and would usually have taken months of planning and engagement but needed to be done “within 48 hours”.

Looking forward, he saw very strong appreciation of the importance of construction to the economy and the need for the industry to open as much as is safe to do so.

He said the discussions have focused on whether construction moves from 25% through 50% to 75% (before eventually hitting an ongoing “COVID-19 normal”) or whether it moves from 25% to something like 60% in one move and a second move to 100% when the restrictions are further relaxed.

He said he favoured less steps and that, while the decision rested with the Chief Medical Officer and Department of Health and Human Services, he was hopeful that view would be accepted.

Movement between sites was still going to be an issue to be addressed as it is “the greatest risk”. However he was more hopeful that cross border (between Melbourne and regional Victoria, and Victoria to other States) was being actively worked through.

In answering a rage of industry questions, he also stated:

  • There would be social (not just civil) construction projects announced hinting that cultural projects as well as social housing was being considered.
  • That workforce including apprenticeships, skills training and immigration were being worked through and we’d see announcements over coming months
  • This crisis has showed gaps incl domestic manufacturing, medical security and national sovereignty and so there will be thought to how we commercialise and produce on shore a range of products especially PPE and bio technology.

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