Construction workers encouraged to get vaccinated to return to work
Unoccupied construction sites across Greater Sydney, including the Central Coast, Blue Mountains, Wollongong and Shellharbour, will operate at 50 per cent capacity from this Wednesday with enhanced COVID safe measures helping to sustain industry, boost the economy and keep workers safe.
Deputy Premier and Minister for Regional NSW, Industry and Trade John Barilaro said next week unoccupied construction sites will resume work with new worksite capacity limits and introduce minimum vaccination requirements for workers from the eight affected local government areas (LGAs) including Blacktown, Campbelltown, Canterbury-Bankstown, Cumberland, Fairfield, Georges River, Liverpool and Parramatta.
“We want workers back on the tools, but we need to continue to keep this virus at bay, and so by opening unoccupied worksites at 50 per cent capacity and vaccinating workers from within those affected LGAs, we can achieve both,” Mr Barilaro said.
“Construction workers from the affected LGAs will be added to the list of authorised workers allowing them to work on unoccupied construction sites in Greater Sydney if they meet the vaccination conditions.”
Construction workers from affected LGAs must provide evidence that they have received:
- two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine, or
- one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine at least three weeks before attending work, or
- one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and, if less than three weeks since that vaccine was administered, a negative COVID-19 test in the previous 72 hours. NSW is currently trialling rapid antigen testing and when approved by NSW Health, that form of testing may be used as an alternative to a negative PCR test.
NSW Treasurer Dominic Perrottet said construction was critical to the state’s economy and employed hundreds of thousands of workers.
“Construction has helped maintain our strong economy throughout the COVID-19 outbreak, but many of our projects and workers are located within the eight affected local government areas,” Mr Perrottet said.
“For the industry to remain viable, we need to restart those projects and get construction workers where they are most needed. But we also need to minimise the risk of COVID-19 transmission to keep our communities safe, and these measures will help us achieve that balance.”
Minister for Jobs, Investment, Tourism and Western Sydney Stuart Ayres said construction workers would be prioritised for vaccination at a dedicated clinic to be hosted at Sydney Olympic Park on Sunday 15 August.
“We hope to vaccinate about 8000 workers at Sydney Olympic Park on Sunday 15 August, with vaccines also available at some GPs and pharmacies,” Mr Ayres said.
“We are also working with industry to facilitate rapid antigen testing trials on a number of public and private sector construction sites and that will soon provide added COVID-19 surveillance capability when approved by NSW Health for wider use.”
These changes will take effect at the beginning of Wednesday 11 August 2021. In the meantime, construction workers in the affected LGAs are urged to get their vaccination shot if they have not already done so.
Exemptions will be in place for individuals with medical or other conditions that make vaccination unsuitable.