Master Builders Australia & Australian Workers’ Union
Governments Must Not Shut Down The Civil Construction Industry
The AWU and Master Builders Australia are jointly calling on governments to ensure the building and construction industry continues to operate, because without it the economic knock-on effects would be devastating on a scale that would dwarf what we have seen to date.
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. Civil construction, in particular, must continue to build the nation and can do so safely given the nature of its sites.
Indeed, the catastrophic threat of a construction shutdown means the whole construction industry has a civic duty to impress upon authorities it can operate while ensuring compliance with social distancing and hygiene requirements.
That means everyone in the industry has to step up and be accountable. 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.
In times of crisis people look to unions, industry, and government to work together. We have to show we can not only slow the spread of COVID-19 but ensure there’s an economy left when the crisis is over.