THE Mornington Peninsula’s army of small building, renovation and construction businesses are breathing easier after the state government last week relaxed work restrictions.
Despite the lockdown, the businesses were given the go ahead to do outdoor building and maintenance works on occupied homes, as opposed to those under construction.
This work was not permitted under earlier, tougher lockdown rules.
Master Builders Victoria CEO Rebecca Casson said the work covered the renovations by peninsula-based small businesses providing kitchen and bathroom redesign and replacement, pool installations, decking, painting, landscaping, solar panel installation, and garden maintenance.
Ms Casson was speaking after the extension of seven-day circuit breaker lockdown for another week on Wednesday 2 June.
“The work must be carried out by businesses with a registered ABN and must only be undertaken outdoors with a maximum of five people on site, together with an additional supervisor, and where appropriate COVID-19 physical distancing can be maintained,” Ms Casson said.
The Master Builders Victoria says it is concerned about a “misconception” that the whole building and construction industry has been able to fully operate during circuit-breaker lockdowns.
“This could be unfairly jeopardising some small businesses’ access to financial support,” Ms Casson said. “These small businesses, which are the lifeblood of the Victorian economy, have received no financial support which is now vital – especially since the JobKeeper program ceased operating.
“We hope that the federal government will consider supporting these workers’ wages during their time of need. We know our members are doing everything they can to keep people employed, including apprentices, but many cannot hold on for much longer – some not even during the next seven days of lockdown.”
Acting Premier James Merlino last week announced a $250.7 million circuit breaker business support package for up to 90,000 small to medium-sized businesses and sole traders affected by the lockdown.