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Builders push for 6am construction site starts during COVID-19 pandemic

Victorian builders are pushing for councils to urgently allow longer work hours to help the industry weather the COVID-19 pandemic.

It comes after the City of Melbourne Council last month extended construction site hours on a case-by-case basis. The changes made by the council allow worksites to operate for an additional two hours on weekdays, from 6am to 8pm, permit an additional three hours of work on Saturdays, as well as facilitating Sunday construction.

CEO of the Master Builders of Victoria, Rebecca Casson, said although the proposal may be unpopular with many working from home, the construction industry is vital to keeping Victoria’s economy afloat during the pandemic downturn.

“Our sector is a primary driver of our economy. It’s the building and construction industry that has kept Victoria going over the last two months while the majority of everything else has been shut down,” she told 3AW’s Ross and John.

“We provide 45 per cent of our state tax revenue, so Victorians are headed for tough times if things don’t change.”

Ms Casson said social distancing rules mean the construction industry cannot operate at full capacity, prompting the need for extended work hours.

“Because of social distancing restricting some of the work that’s happening, and things are taking longer, we’re actually asking councils to review and follow the City of Melbourne template, which has been really successful … to allow workers to get on the site and also to have finishing trades such as painters etc and other tradies to stay for longer,” she said.

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