AUSTRALIA’S COLLAPSE IN RIGGING CONSTRUCTION HAS BEEN MADE PAST FOR MORE THAN A DECADE.
The construction industry has been rocked by a sharp rise in COVID-19-related fatalities, with the number of people killed last year rising by more than 50 per cent to 604,000.
“There are a number of factors that are going to contribute to the increase in fatalities, including the impact of a rise in the COVID outbreak, the increasing number of homes affected by the outbreak, and the fact that we’ve had more and more construction workers contracting the coronavirus,” Dr Hatton said.
“But also there is the impact on the construction industry, where a lot of construction workers are still in the workforce.”
Calls to cut the workforce are now reaching a crescendo.
The Australian Building and Construction Commission has called for the Government to cut its workforce by 30 per cent by the end of 2018.
“The construction sector is a key contributor to the economic growth in the economy and our economic future,” ACCC chief executive Michael Smith said.
“The ACCC is urging the Government and state governments to take immediate action to ensure construction workers do not face unnecessary labour, safety and health risks.”ACCC chief Mick Tsikas said the increased number of workers contracting COVID could be attributed to the COX-2 vaccine.
“As the coronasvex vaccine has been given out, more construction work has been done, including a greater proportion of construction work done by non-residents and construction workers overseas,” he said.
He said the lack of an immediate reduction in the number and severity of COVID infections was a result of a lack of resources in the building industry.
“This is because a number is not being made available to support the health and welfare needs of the construction workforce,” he added.
“A number of the key contractors are still contracted to do work in the construction sector and so we do not have the resources to make those available.”
Dr Hatton says a number will be making the jump to new occupations and a lack in funding is one of the contributing factors to the spike in COVI-related deaths.
“If we were to make any significant reduction in these activities in the near term, we would have to cut back on the workforce as a whole,” he says.
The Victorian Construction Council has also warned that the COVIS-19 outbreak could mean significant challenges ahead.
The Victorian Government has promised to deliver $200 million in funding to support construction workers through the end in 2020, but that money will not be enough to rebuild all of the houses that have been destroyed by COVID.
“In the short term we are going down to the wire,” Mr Tsikis said.
Mr Tsikes said the Government had promised to provide a $250 million financial support package for the construction workers, but “we’re going to have to make some tough choices”.
“I think the Government is going to need to be more generous in terms of the funding they’re providing to the construction unions,” he adds.
“What we’re going through is a very difficult time for all of us in the Victorian construction industry.”