The Australian Workers Union (AWU) and Master Builders Australia have jointly called on governments to ensure the building and construction industry continues to operate, warning that any closure would devastate the economy.
Without this industry the economic knock-on effects would be devastating on a scale that would dwarf what has been seen to date, they said in a statement.
“The shutdown of the construction industry would jeopardise not just those employed directly, but the whole livelihoods of millions of Australians employed in precarious sectors like manufacturing. It would devastate nationally important industries in the building supply chain, like the $30 billion steel industry.
“Forcing the industry’s closure would also blunt the impact of federal, state and territory government stimulus packages as infrastructure projects would immediately grind to a halt.”
Both organisations warned that the catastrophic threat of a construction shutdown means the whole industry has a civic duty to impress upon authorities it can operate while ensuring compliance with social distancing and hygiene requirements.
“Construction companies and project managers must ensure that protocols at their site are enforced. Construction workers owe it to each other and their families to be responsible and do the right thing. This is only the only way the industry can continue working while reducing the risk of COVID-19 transmission,” they said.