Victorian construction workers will soon be forced to adhere to a new rule in order to keep their jobs and legally enter worksites.
Construction workers in Victoria will soon be forced to show evidence to their boss that they have had at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine if they want to keep their job.
Premier Daniel Andrews revealed the rule would come into effect from 11.59pm on September 23.
“Basically, construction workers have a week to get — if they’ve not already got a first dose — to go and get a first dose of any of the vaccines that are available, and they will need to demonstrate to their employer that they have done that,” he told reporters on Thursday.
“We’ve seen too many cases in construction. Vaccination first dose helps, second dose is obviously better.
“In order to strike that balance and have maximum protection — but at the same time keep that industry going, and all those jobs and livelihoods, trying to protect them as best we can — first dose by next Thursday is mandatory.
“That is required. No debates entered into. If you’ve got health reasons, fair enough, but people need to go and get vaccinated.”
The Premier said there would be some limited medical exemptions.
“But that industry needs to take this seriously and go and get vaccinated … otherwise you’ll not be permitted to work,” he said.
“That is not a choice that anyone should make. They should in fact put their safety and the safety of the community first, and go and get their first dose.”
Mr Andrews also announced that from 11.59pm on Friday, construction workers would no longer be able to cross back and forth over the metropolitan regional boundary.
“Even people who have Covid safety at the front of their mind, if you’re travelling back and forth from metropolitan Melbourne into the regions and back again, then the virus will hitch a ride,” he said.
“That’s exactly what has happened and we’ve seen not only what’s happening in Ballarat, but we have seen it in a number of other regional communities.
“If we finish up with cases that are running wildly in regional communities, then we have no choice but to shut those communities down.”
Mr Andrews said there would be support for anyone adversely affected by the change.
But he warned he did not want to see a situation where there are more communities struck like Ballarat and Shepparton.
“We want to try and limit the impact on regional communities,” he said.
“This is about safeguarding what regional Victorians have built. I apologise for the inconvenience but this is the advice on what is safe.”
Mr Andrews said there were also other issues around deliveries and who could come on site.
He said authorities would work with the construction sector on those issues.
Asked who would enforce the rules on the construction industry, Mr Andrews said it would be a joint effort.
“But the requirement is that the employer does not have unvaccinated people on site,” he said.
“So the important thing here is that, if you’re in this industry and you want to get about your business … you’ve got to stay open.
“The key there is to be vaccinated at least one dose, unless you’ve got a medical exemption.
“I know that’s asking a lot of people, but that’s what’s at stake here.
“We’ve seen many, many cases and we have to make sure that we’re not seeing more of those cases in this industry.”