CONSTRUCTION HOURS EXTENDED TO SUPPORT INDUSTRY DURING COVID-19

NSW Government MEDIA RELEASE 02 April 2020

Rob Stokes Minister for Planning and Pubic Spaces

Construction sites can now operate on weekends and public holidays under new rules introduced today by the NSW Government 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 10 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 any adverse impacts on the community or from a public health perspective.

MEDIA: Jessica Reid | 0429 369 565

Download Media Release here. 

MESSAGE FROM THE CEO

As some of you maybe aware, last year the AIB and Lahey Constructions successfully ran a pilot Mentoring Program with AIB student members and Lahey staff. One of the mentoring teams was Aman Rai, a Construction Management student from the University of Canberra who was paired with Guy Tristram (Lahey).

At the beginning of the trial program, they created objectives both professional and personal and maintained a strong relationship that enhanced Aman’s skills in communication, teamwork, leadership and self-improvement. Both Aman and Guy found the the program enriching and Aman describes the program as “life changing”.

This year the Mentoring Program will run nationally with applications for Mentor’s now open. Each Mentor will be paired with a student Mentee. If you think you have the experience and would like to give back to the industry and student members of the AIB, then download the application form and send it through to events@aib.org.au

Our National Awards team in Canberra has received a number of enquiries regarding the submission close date for our 2020 Professional Excellence Awards which was Monday just gone, the 23rd March. We are aware that some businesses have been impacted by the development of COVID-19 affecting their operations and resources with some submissions commenced but not yet completed. With this and to assist our 2020 awards entrants, we are extending the submission closing date until the 9th of April. We look forward to a successful 2020 PEA Season.

Clearly COVID – 19 has meant that we have had to move this year’s Awards events out of the next six months. We will shortly announce new dates and potential venues as soon as possible.

As more and more people are being forced to work from home to stem the further spread of the virus, we thought it may be helpful to provide you with a ‘Working from Home Safety and Wellbeing Checklist

This checklist is simply a guide and a way of ensuring that things are in place before you start work from your place of residence. I hope this helps.

Have a great weekend ahead everyone..

Greg Hughes

NEW JOBS HUB HIGHLIGHTING JOB OPPORTUNITIES FOR AUSTRALIANS

Senator the Hon Michaelia Cash

MINISTER FOR EMPLOYMENT, SKILLS, SMALL AND FAMILY BUSINESS SENATOR FOR WESTERN AUSTRALIA

MEDIA RELEASE

2 April 2020

NEW JOBS HUB HIGHLIGHTING JOB OPPORTUNITIES FOR AUSTRALIANS

The Government has today launched a new Jobs Hub which highlights which businesses and organisations have multiple jobs on offer.

In this rapidly changing jobs market the Morrison Government is supporting businesses and those Australians looking for work.

An up to date list of a selection of businesses and organisations that are currently hiring, and how to contact them, can be found at: www.dese.gov.au/covid-19/jobs-hub

Minister for Employment, Skills, Small and Family Business, Senator the Hon Michaelia Cash said the Government was continuing to do everything it could to keep Australians connected to the workforce at this time.

“These are critical jobs that will contribute to keeping the economy going and keeping as many Australians in work as possible,” she said.

While many businesses have been adversely affected by COVID-19 and are reducing their workforces, there are some areas of the economy which have an increased demand for workers.

These include jobs in a range of sectors and occupations including health and care sectors, transport and logistics, some areas of retail, mining and mining services, manufacturing, agriculture and government sectors, among others.

“Every Australian with a job is an essential worker. I continue to work with employers, industry peak organisations, employment services providers and others in the labour market to identify where the jobs are and help move people looking for work into these jobs quickly.”

Employers who are hiring and want support to connect with potential candidates can also contact the Department of Education, Skills and Employment at workforce@dese.gov.au to be connected directly with businesses reducing their workforces; and the employment services network to source suitable candidates.

“If you are hiring, particularly scaling up your workforce quickly, I encourage you to email our Workforce Contact Centre so you can be connected with the support you need to get your workforce on board.

“Our Employer Response Unit can work with you to identify the best option to source suitable candidates, and help you with your recruitment to make it as smooth as possible so you can get on with delivering essential services in this difficult time.”

MEDIA CONTACTS

Guy Creighton – Guy.Creighton@employment.gov.au – 0438 815 302 Brittany Higgins – Brittany.higgins@employment.gov.au – 0449 171 294

LAUNCH OF NATIONAL CAMPAIGN TO PROMOTE SOCIAL DISTANCING ON BUILDING SITES

Media Release – Master Builders

01 April 2020

A national advertising campaign has been launched to promote social distancing and strict hygiene on the nation’s building sites.

Denita Wawn, CEO of Master Builders Australia said the campaign would run for the next four weeks and was targeted to everyone working in the building and construction sector because everyone has a responsibility to ensure that social distancing and good hygiene are being practiced.

“Business owners, employers, construction workers, subcontractors, site managers – everyone must be accountable for social distancing and strict hygiene not only on building sites but also off site when on breaks and before and after shifts,” she said.

“As an essential industry it’s vital to the community and the economy that in this extraordinarily difficult time we can continue building and construction work to provide the livelihoods of 1 in 10 Australians and to support the viability of nearly 400,000 small businesses,” Denita Wawn said.

“It’s important that the health and wellbeing of everyone in our industry and community remains our top priority which is why the industry is continuing to embed social distancing and strict hygiene practices on site. It’s also why we have joined forces with the CFMEU and the AWU to promote an even stronger safety culture as our industry and our community faces the Covid-19 crisis,” she said.

“However, we do recognise the substantial cultural change that we are asking everyone in our industry to make. Everyone including workers, subcontractors and management are used to completing building projects as efficiently as possible. Social distancing is slowing work down, but slower work is better than no work and that is why we are asking everyone in our industry to step up and be accountable for doing the right thing to keep each other and the community safe,” Denita Wawn said.

“There are 1.2 million people and nearly 400,000 small businesses in communities around Australia that go to work every day in our industry which provides the most full time jobs and is made up of the most SMEs than any other sector in the economy. That is why we have launched this campaign,” Denita Wawn said.

 

For more information contact:

Ben Carter, National Director, Media & Public Affairs, 0447 775 507

A MESSAGE FROM THE CEO OF INFRASTRUCTURE NSW

The Commonwealth and NSW Governments have announced further measures to control COVID-19 over recent days. They have introduced further restrictions on social gathering, travel, and restrictions on some types of service businesses.

There are no specific restrictions on construction projects, or on travelling to and from work. Some public health orders, such as the order on gatherings, provide specific exemptions for workplaces including construction sites. There is no list of permitted essential activities. If a particular activity is not explicitly controlled under a public health order, it can continue. The best source of information is the NSW Health website where public health orders can be found.

Governments have been clear that they seek to both control the infection rate of the virus, and also maintain economic activity and jobs as much as possible.

After discussion among NSW Government agencies, the following principles will guide our conduct for projects and businesses affected by the virus or related control measures:

1. Contractors are encouraged to talk to their NSW Government agency clients as soon as possible to allow a cooperative approach to mitigation. Conversely, agencies should reach out to contractors.
2. Each project will be managed on a case by case basis to address the particular circumstances, and each will require information the causes behind potential delays, and solutions tailored to the circumstances;
3. Government clients will work cooperatively with contractors to seek solutions that maximize the chance of achieving good project outcomes for client, contractor, subcontractors, employees and suppliers;
4. For projects in delivery, Government clients recognise that COVID-19 may introduce delivery risks that could not have been foreseen, mitigated or priced at the time contracts were executed (noting the commercial arrangements vary);
5. For projects not yet contracted, Government clients will consider industry feedback and an approach that recognises the risks created by COVID-19 over the upcoming period;
6. As a matter of reciprocity, contractors will be expected to:
a. seek Government flexibility and cooperation only for matters related to COVID-19, and not for pre-existing project performance issues or unrelated delays
b. propose changes only to the extent required to mitigate the effects of COVID-19
c. mitigate delays and costs, demonstrate flexibility in doing so, and promptly provide information on anticipated delays and strategies
d. protect and utilise insurance arrangements that can mitigate impacts
e. act cooperatively with other contractors on the project
f. treat subcontractors, consultants and suppliers in a similar manner, and reflect changes in arrangements in those contracts;
7. Discussions and problem solving should occur between client agencies (project teams) and contractor project teams, with escalation according to usual mechanisms.

MESSAGE FROM THE CEO

The first Australian Construction Industry Forum (ACIF) Member Meeting for 2020 was held in Melbourne recently. Member associations of ACIF (including the AIB) gathered to discuss a range of issues such as the effect of the coronavirus on the industry, unfair contract terms legislation, the regulatory reforms in New South Wales, ACIF’s 2020 policy priorities, progress on the recommendations of the Building Confidence Report, and many other matters.

Bronwyn Weir (co-author of the Shergold Weir Report) gave an excellent presentation updating ACIF members on what is happening around Australia to further the reforms of the Building Confidence report, and Victorian State Building Surveyor, Andrew Cialini updated members on reforms in Victoria regarding building surveyors with a superb and succinct address.
By now you would have noticed your AIB membership renewal notice has arrived either in your Inbox or via the mail. In renewing this, it will ensure that we can continue with (but not limited to) the following initiatives:

  • Continue our work in presenting issues critical to the industry at a state, territory and federal level
  • Continue to develop meaningful and impactful continuing professional development programs
  • Deliver events and activities that enable members to be able to network
  • Deliver a professional and national Awards Program
  • Deliver a world class Accreditation program across multiple Australian universities
  • Continue to liaise with Regulators about the importance of AIB initiatives such as the National Building Professionals Register (NBPR)  
  • Continue to work with the Australian Building Codes Board and other critical bodies in pursuit of delivering on the recommendations of the Shergold Weir report
Again, this is just a taste of what a small yet dedicated team in Canberra as well as countless volunteers at a Committee level across the country undertake. Please click here to renew and ensure that you continue to support YOUR organisation.

Have a great weekend ahead everyone..
Greg Hughes

IMPORTANT NATIONAL PRESIDENT’S MESSAGE – EVENTS AND OPERATIONS STATEMENT

Members and Supporters

I would like to update you on how we are managing the development of COVID-19 given the recent advice on travel and isolations announced by the Federal Government over the weekend.

We are taking our advice from the Australian Government Department of Health. https://www.health.gov.au/news/health-alerts/novel-coronavirus-2019-ncov-health-alert/what-you-need-to-know-about-coronavirus-covid-19

 

What is COVID-19?

COVID-19 is the infectious disease caused by a new coronavirus. It was first reported in December 2019 in Wuhan City in China.

The most common symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, tiredness, and dry cough. Some patients may have aches and pains, nasal congestion, runny nose, sore throat or diarrhea. These symptoms are usually mild and begin gradually. Some people become infected but don’t develop any symptoms and don’t feel unwell. Most people (about 80%) recover from the disease without needing special treatment.

How is coronavirus spread?

COVID-19 spreads from person to person in a similar way to the flu:

  • from close contact with an infected person;
  • from touching objects or surfaces contaminated by the sneeze or cough of an infected person and then touching your eyes, nose or mouth;

Symptoms similar to the flu, include fever, cough, sore throat, tiredness or shortness of breath.

Most people who are infected experience mild to moderate symptoms from which they fully recover. However, some people may develop more serious illness with pneumonia and other complications. People at risk of more serious symptoms include the elderly, children, pregnant women, or those with immune system, cardiac or respiratory conditions.

 

What measures can I take to protect myself and those around me from the virus?

  • Regularly and thoroughly clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand rub or wash them with soap and warm water.
  • Maintain at least 1 metre between yourself and anyone who is coughing or sneezing.
  • Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth
  • Make sure you, and the people around you, follow good respiratory hygiene. This means covering your mouth and nose with your bent elbow or tissue when you cough or sneeze. Then dispose of the used tissue immediately.
  • Stay home if you feel unwell. If you have a fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical attention and call in advance. Follow the directions of your local health authority.
  • Keep up to date on the latest COVID-19 hotspots (cities or local areas where COVID-19 is spreading widely). If possible, avoid traveling to places with known outbreaks of COVID-19.

 

What measures are the AIB taking to prevent the spread of COVID-19 (Coronavirus)?

Australian Institute of Building will continue to provide staff, members, and supporting partners with further updates on the COVID-19 situation as more information comes to light.

Thorough hygiene practices will continue to be implemented across the office which includes the daily sanitisation of all necessary surfaces.

Staff are encouraged to regularly use the hand sanitiser provided and sanitising wipes.

 

Will the AIB be cancelling upcoming events?

We will be assessing all upcoming events and if necessary, will cancel or postpone events. Members, sponsors and staff will be informed prior to any cancellations or postponement. AIB will comply with any bans imposed by the Federal Government for mass gatherings. We will continue to encourage attendees to use their own personal protection measures and we will also provide access to sanitiser at our events or venues.

 

We are aware of the recent travel and social distancing restrictions initiated by the Australian and New Zealand Governments over the weekend. The Australian Institute of Building continues to assess what this means for the AIB and any impact these restrictions may have for the team and the day to day operations of the Institute.

 

Yours sincerely

David Burnell FAIB

National President

M:  0425 801719

E:   president@aib.org.au

ECONOMIC RESPONSE TO THE CORONAVIRUS

Media Release from the Australian Government

The Australian economy is resilient and we are well placed to navigate the economic implications arising from the Coronavirus.

The Government has moved quickly to put in place health measures to protect the Australian community from this complex and rapidly evolving challenge.

Today we announce an economic response totalling $17.6 billion across the forward estimates, representing 0.9 per cent of annual GDP. This package will protect the economy by maintaining confidence, supporting investment and keeping people in jobs. Additional household income and business support will flow through to strengthen the wider economy.

The Australian Government is acting decisively in the national interest to address the potentially significant economic consequences of the virus, without a permanent or structural impact on the budget balance.

OUR HEALTH SYSTEM IS WELL PREPARED TO ENSURE THE SAFETY OF THE COMMUNITY

The outbreak of the Coronavirus is a new, complex and rapidly evolving challenge with significant health impacts. While the outbreak originated in China, significant outbreaks are now occurring in Italy, Iran and South Korea with more than 100 countries reporting infections.

To date, cases in Australia have been relatively small in number, but the medical advice is that the Coronavirus will continue to move through the Australian community.

Our health system is well prepared to manage an outbreak of the Coronavirus. We have a world-class health system which has pandemic plans that are currently activated. The Government has put in place strong measures to protect Australians, including activating the National Incident Room, releasing masks from the National Medical Stockpile, enhancing border controls and imposing strict travel restrictions. The Government will continue to respond as the situation develops.

The Government has committed an additional $2.4 billion to support our health system to manage any further outbreak in Australia. The package provides support across primary care, aged care, hospitals and research. It will ensure the capacity of our health system to effectively assess, diagnose and treat people with the Coronavirus in a way that minimises its spread in the community and protects vulnerable Australians. The Government has also committed to pay for half of all additional costs incurred by states and territories in diagnosing and treating patients with, or suspected of having, the Coronavirus, and efforts to minimise the spread of the virus.

HOW THE CORONAVIRUS WILL AFFECT THE GLOBAL AND AUSTRALIAN ECONOMIES

The Coronavirus outbreak not only affects people’s health and the health systems of the countries affected, it is also having significant economic implications.

Going into this outbreak, there were tentative signs that global economic conditions were improving, following a period of weaker growth over much of 2019. World merchandise trade volumes strengthened in late 2019 and survey measures of production in manufacturing and services industries improved in some key economies.

Economic activity in Australia was also strengthening at the end of 2019. The Australian economy grew by 2.2 per cent through the year to the December quarter 2019, a step up from 1.8 per cent through the year to the September quarter. Growth was expected to pick up over the forecast period, supported by the personal income tax relief announced in the 2018-19 and 2019-20 Budgets and the Government’s $100 billion investment in productivity-enhancing infrastructure. Accommodative monetary policy and a lower Australian dollar were also expected to support a pick-up in growth.

Australia’s position heading into this crisis was stronger than many, with both the IMF and the OECD forecasting Australia to grow faster than comparable economies, including the UK, Canada, Japan, Germany and France.

While highly uncertain, it is clear that the spread of the Coronavirus across the world is having a negative economic impact.

The economic implications of the Coronavirus outbreak to date have been most significant for the Chinese economy. This reflects the size of the outbreak in China and the measures taken to contain its spread. A range of economic indicators are showing that the Chinese economy has been severely impacted. A survey measure of activity in the manufacturing sector had its largest fall in its history in February, while activity in China’s services sector, particularly transport, real estate and hotel and catering, has weakened substantially.

The negative economic effect in China is having global implications. Relative to SARS in 2003, China’s economy is substantially larger and more interconnected with the world, including Australia. Two-thirds of the world’s economies now have China as one of their top three trading partners. Economies are experiencing reduced Chinese demand for services overseas such as travel and tourism, and there are increasing reports of reduced access to goods through supply chains.

The global economic implications have broadened as the Coronavirus has spread to other nations.

The global nature of the shock is evident in financial markets. Stock markets have fallen substantially around the world in recent weeks, while corporate bond spreads have widened. The Australian dollar is 6 per cent lower on a trade-weighted basis than it was in early January.

Financial regulators around the world are monitoring conditions closely and there is strong communication amongst our domestic agencies through the Council of Financial Regulators. The Australian financial system is strong and resilient. Financial markets are continuing to function effectively. Since the global financial crisis, reforms have been implemented that collectively contribute to a significant increase in the resilience of our financial system. Specific reforms include: increasing the quantity and quality of banks’ capital and liquidity positions; strengthening the RBA’s ability to provide financial institutions with emergency funding during periods of liquidity stress; and strengthening APRA’s crisis management powers.

Oil prices have fallen, to be around 50 per cent lower than prices in early January, reflecting falling global demand and the collapse of an agreement between major producers to reduce output. While oil-linked LNG export prices will be negatively affected by these falls, consumers will benefit from lower petrol prices.

In contrast, prices of key bulk commodities have remained resilient to date. This is likely due to an expectation that the Chinese authorities will move to boost domestic demand through ongoing stimulus measures, including increased investment in infrastructure.

In response to the Coronavirus outbreak, fiscal authorities in a number of countries have enacted measures to support both their health systems and their economy more broadly. Governments are providing support, particularly to sectors and workers most affected by the outbreak, and more announcements are expected. Monetary policy is responding with more than 35 central banks across the world easing policy in 2020 so far. This includes the RBA, which reduced the cash rate by 25 basis points in March to a record low of 0.5 per cent.

The fiscal response in a number of key economies, including China, South Korea, Italy and Singapore, has so far focussed on supporting businesses through this period of uncertainty, for example through restructuring of loans, tax cuts or retraining. Fiscal responses have also supported households, for example through cash payments, income support or tax credits.

Like other economies around the world, the Australian economy is already feeling the effects of the global Coronavirus outbreak. Tourist and student arrivals have been significantly lower than they were in late 2019, and demand for some premium agricultural products has fallen. The reduction in tourism demand comes on top of the effects on tourism from the summer’s bushfires, which caused some travellers to cancel or delay their trips to Australia. The effect on the education sector is significant, with over 100,000 Chinese international students not in Australia when the travel ban was actioned.

Based largely on the direct effect of lower international students and tourism expenditure, the Coronavirus outbreak is expected to detract at least ½ of a percentage point from economic growth in Australia in the March quarter 2020. This is on top of the estimated detraction from growth from the bushfires of 0.2 percentage points across the December and March quarters.

There remains considerable uncertainty around the potential economic implications of the Coronavirus for the June quarter and beyond. The economic shock is likely to be significant. There are a wide range of potential paths for the spread and containment of the virus globally and in Australia. In addition, there is uncertainty around the impact on confidence, people’s ability to work and business cash flow. The global spread of the virus and its global economic impact will also flow through to demand for Australia’s exports and the availability of inputs into domestic production and imported consumption goods.

There are automatic mechanisms that will help to support activity. The flexible exchange rate helps to mitigate the effect of shocks to global demand, we have a sound and well-capitalised banking sector and our labour market has shown that it can flexibly respond as firms adjust more through hours than the number of employees. Automatic fiscal responses, such as reductions in tax revenue and higher payments to households, will also support activity by households and businesses. With accommodative monetary policy and this package of support, we are confident that the Australian economy is well placed to get through this shock.

HOW THE GOVERNMENT IS RESPONDING

This $17.6 billion package represents fiscal support across the forward estimates of 0.9 per cent of annual GDP. This significant action has been taken in the national interest to guard against more severe economic impacts of the Coronavirus outbreak. The package is front-loaded in order to instil confidence in businesses and households and help firms keep people employed. This will ensure that the economy is in the best possible position to recover as the shock subsides.

The 2020-21 Budget, to be delivered in May, will present the latest official forecasts for the economy and fiscal position. It will reflect the various developments which have taken place since the 2019-20 Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook, including the economic and fiscal impacts of the response package.

The IMF and OECD have indicated that Australia is in one of the best positions within advanced economies to provide fiscal support without endangering debt sustainability. This package has been designed to be fiscally responsible. The measures will not have a permanent or structural impact on the budget balance. The Government is protecting the structural integrity of the Budget to keep debt low for future generations.

The international credit rating agency Standard and Poor’s has indicated that temporary stimulus would be ‘unlikely to strain Australia’s creditworthiness’ given the Government’s commitment to maintain medium-term fiscal discipline.

The measures included in this package complement existing programs that are supporting the economy.

These include the already announced packages to support the recovery from the bushfires and drought.

The Government’s response is tailored to the nature of the shock and has been designed around seven key principles. These are that:

  • measures must be proportionate to the degree of the economic shock and the impact on the economy;
  • measures need to be timely and scalable, so they can be adjusted appropriately as the health and economic effects unfold;
  • the response needs to be targeted to address the specific issues we are confronting, supporting those most affected, and delivered where it will be most effective;
  • the response needs to be aligned with the many other arms of policy and activity, in particular monetary policy, and with the responses of other governments, particularly at a state and territory level;
  • existing delivery mechanisms should be used, wherever possible;
  • the measures must be temporary and accompanied by a fiscal exit strategy; and
  • measures should favour those that will lift productivity to enable the Australian economy to sustain an even stronger growth trajectory than we were on prior to the crisis.

SUMMARY OF THE ECONOMIC RESPONSE

The Government’s economic response addresses the economic impacts of the Coronavirus outbreak. It is intended to support confidence, employment and business continuity. It is designed to support business investment, help small businesses manage short-term cash flow challenges, provide targeted support to individuals and assistance to the most severely affected communities and regions.

  1. Delivering support for business investment

The Government is backing businesses to invest to help the economy withstand and recover from the economic impact of the Coronavirus. The two business investment measures in this package are designed to assist Australian businesses and economic growth in the short term, and encourage a stronger economic recovery following the Coronavirus outbreak.

Increasing the instant asset write-off

From today, the Government is increasing the instant asset write-off threshold from $30,000 to $150,000 and expanding access to include businesses with aggregated annual turnover of less than $500 million (up from $50 million) until 30 June 2020. In 2017-18 there were more than 360,000 businesses that benefited from the current instant asset write-off, claiming deductions to the value of over $4 billion.

Backing business investment

The Government is introducing a time limited 15 month investment incentive (through to 30 June 2021) to support business investment and economic growth over the short term, by accelerating depreciation deductions. Businesses with a turnover of less than $500 million will be able to deduct 50 per cent of the cost of an eligible asset on installation, with existing depreciation rules applying to the balance of the asset’s cost.

These two measures will support over 3.5 million businesses (over 99 per cent of businesses) employing more than 9.7 million employees.

  1. Cash flow assistance for businesses

This assistance will support businesses to manage cash flow challenges resulting from the economic impacts of the Coronavirus and help businesses retain their employees. These two measures are designed to support employing small and medium enterprises and to improve business confidence.

Boosting cash flow for employers

The Boosting Cash Flow for Employers measure will provide up to $25,000 back to small and medium-sized businesses, with a minimum payment of $2,000 for eligible businesses. The payment will provide cash flow support to businesses with a turnover of less than $50 million that employ staff. The payment will be tax free.

This measure will benefit around 690,000 businesses employing around 7.8 million people.

Supporting apprentices and trainees

The Government is supporting small business to retain their apprentices and trainees. Eligible employers can apply for a wage subsidy of 50 per cent of the apprentice’s or trainee’s wage for up to 9 months from 1 January 2020 to 30 September 2020. Where a small business is not able to retain an apprentice, the subsidy will be available to a new employer that employs that apprentice.

This measure will support up to 70,000 small businesses, employing around 117,000 apprentices.

  1. Stimulus payments to households to support growth

This measure will assist around 6.5 million lower income Australians, which will support confidence and domestic demand in the economy.

Stimulus payments

The Government will provide a one-off $750 payment to social security, veteran and other income support recipients and eligible concession card holders. Around half of those that will benefit are pensioners.

There will be one payment per eligible recipient. For example, if a person qualifies for the one-off payment in multiple ways, they will only receive one payment.

The payment will be tax free and will not count as income for Social Security, Farm Household Allowance and Veteran payments.

  1. Assistance for severely affected regions

This measure provides $1 billion to support regions most significantly affected by the Coronavirus outbreak. Support for Coronavirus-affected regions and communities

The Government has set aside $1 billion to support those regions and communities that have been disproportionately affected by the economic impacts of the Coronavirus, including those heavily reliant on industries such as tourism, agriculture and education.

This will include the waiver of fees and charges for tourism businesses that operate in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park and the waiver of entry fees for Commonwealth National Parks. It will also include additional assistance to help businesses identify alternative export markets or supply chains. Targeted measures will also be developed to further promote domestic tourism.

The Australian Tax Office (ATO) is also providing administrative relief for some tax obligations for people affected by the Coronavirus outbreak, on a case-by-case basis. The ATO will set up a temporary shop front in Cairns within the next few weeks with dedicated staff specialising in assisting small business. In addition, it will consider ways to enhance its presence in other significantly affected regions, making it easier for people to apply for relief. The ATO is considering further temporary shop fronts and face-to-face options.

PACKAGE IMPLEMENTATION

The Government will move quickly to implement this package. To that end, a package of Bills will be introduced into Parliament in the final Autumn sitting week in March 2020 for Parliament’s urgent consideration and passage.

Following passage of the Bills through Parliament, the Government will then move to immediately make, and register, any supporting instruments.

FOR MORE INFORMATION

For more information on the Australian Government’s Economic Response to Coronavirus visit treasury.gov.au/coronavirus.

Download pdf here

MESSAGE FROM THE CEO

Given that the 2020 Professional Excellence Award entries are now open, I think it’s timely just to reflect on what the Awards are about. While there are many organisations that salute the property that has been built, whether it be from an architectural, engineering etc perspective, our Awards focus on the individual.

Our members, whether they are from a project management, construction management, contracts management or site management background are regularly faced at times, with a barrage of challenges that they must overcome in order to deliver a project on time and importantly, on budget.

With this, AIB Chapters are working hard as we speak to ensure that we deliver an appropriate event that will not only acknowledge, but celebrate in the success of the sheer hard work and determination that often goes into a project. So get behind the Awards program and take the next step and get an entry in ASAP. Details on how to do this can be found here.

I am also excited to announce that we have already locked down the venue for this year’s National Awards – to be held in Melbourne in September. Have a look at this video to show you more.

Due to the Coronavirus, one of the AIB’s national Corporate Partners DesignBUILD has postponed their expo until 27 to 29 October this year. As you have no doubt read, numerous businesses and organisations in our industry are being affected by the virus by way of such things as events, travel and to a degree, supply chains to and from China.

While the future of the virus is still an unknown at this point in time, it is understandable and generally agreed that the measures that we are seeing put in place are necessary to try and minimise the chance of further outbreaks.

We look forward to working with the DesignBUILD team later in the year.

Have a great weekend ahead everyone.

Regards,
Greg Hughes

ACIF URGES INDUSTRY AND GOVERNMENT COLLABORATION TO ADDRESS THE THREAT OF THE CORONAVIRUS TO THE CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRY

ACIF Urges Industry and Government Collaboration to Address the Threat of the Coronavirus to the Construction Industry

The Australian Construction Industry Forum (ACIF) urges industry and government collaboration to address the growing and looming issue of disruption to construction projects, primarily due to a decrease of building products from China due to the coronavirus, and its effect on industrial activity in China. There is also the potential that the migration of skilled labour and professionals needed for the industry could be affected by the coronavirus, with various travel restrictions internationally. Further, if the Australian workforce is affected by the coronavirus with many people infected or staying away from workplaces due to fear of infection, this will also have a major impact on the construction industry. Planning and collaboration for the industry is urgently needed to mitigate these very real possibilities that threaten the construction industry, a major driver of the Australian economy.

ACIF Executive Director James Cameron commented, “With more than 60 percent of the $6 billion worth of construction-related materials sourced from China, this represents a massive challenge for the industry if supplies continue to be affected.“

“Some builders and contractors are putting in requests for extensions of time for delays to their projects. This is contractually not always easy as many contracts do not provide illness as a reason for a claim.”

“Where there are large components of structure, facades, and fit out in contracts, these usually require visits to suppliers’ factories in China.”

“Most major developers and builders are looking for alternative sources for Chinese building products, looking at alternatives to sending staff to China, and looking to find quality assurance specialists in China who can do inspections for them”, Mr Cameron stated.

“The construction labour force in Australia may also be affected due to the disruption to the migration of certain trades and professions needed for the industry.”

“If the coronavirus takes hold in Australia, construction projects may be further affected with sick staff and others staying home due to fear of infection. The construction industry labour force is highly integrated, and one missing link can mean that projects cannot continue.“

“ACIF calls on industry and governments in Australia to collaborate to address all of these current and looming challenges. Let’s act proactively and be on the front foot to minimise the impact of this tragic outbreak of COVID-19 on the construction industry”, Mr Cameron added.

 

About Australian Construction Industry Forum (ACIF)
The Australian Construction Industry Forum (ACIF) is the cohesive, trusted voice of the Australian Construction Industry. ACIF facilitates and supports an active dialogue between the key players in residential and non-residential building, and engineering construction, other industry groups, and government agencies. ACIF’s focus is on innovation, collaboration, equity and sustainability for the industry. ACIF Members are among the most significant associations in the industry, spanning the entire asset creation process from feasibility through design, cost planning, construction and building and management. ACIF harnesses the resources of its Members to research and develop initiatives that benefit businesses of all sizes, from the largest of construction companies to small consultancies. More information on ACIF is available from www.acif.com.au.