The New South Wales Government has paused all construction to limit the spread of the COVID-19 Delta strain.
All non-urgent maintenance and repair work on residential properties will also be paused because of the new restrictions.
The move follows an extension of the current lockdown for another two weeks until 11:59pm on Friday 30 July.
Construction, Forestry, Maritime, Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU) Secretary Darren Greenfield said the organisation is working with the State Government to expedite a normal resumption of work as soon as possible after the cessation period ends.
“The union is prioritising securing payment to contractors and workers’ wages for last week and to ensure they can access appropriate entitlements to support them over the coming weeks,” Greenfield said.
“The construction workforce is one of the biggest in NSW and the industry is a critical part of the state and national economies. This decision will affect hundreds of thousands of workers across the industry and supply chains and have an enormous impact on their lives, the lives of their families, and their communities.
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“The NSW and Federal Governments need to ensure any emergency payments and other support measures are made available to affected workers and their families without delay.”
Supplier payments fintech, Earlytrade, released data that showed the ‘alarming’ activity across Greater Sydney as subcontractors and site managers were given until the end of Sunday to close sites across the city.
Earlytrade Chief Executive and Co-Founder Guy Saxelby said there is fear and panic among Sydney subbies.
“The construction shutdown is seen as a slap in the face given these business owners kept the economy ticking in 2020,” he said.
“Subcontractors made more than 2200 requests for early payments over the weekend. That’s about five-times over and above usual levels in just 48 hours.
“This level of demand is highly unusual and alarming as weekends are typically dead quiet on our platform and our 20-day moving average sits at around 240 requests per day.”
Saxelby said construction subcontractors as a sector were already suffering from cash flow access and affordability issues with traditional lenders for no fault of their own.
“This shutdown could push subbies and their employees over the edge and the knock-on effects to projects, employment, and overall economic health will be devastating,” he said.