In the wake of chaotic protests last week, Victorian Treasurer Tim Pallas announced cash grants for thousands of construction companies affected by the two-week ban.
One-time payments will be made to more than 70,000 construction companies in Victoria to make up for lost revenue caused by a two-week ban on the sector.
Eligible businesses, including independent traders in Melbourne, Greater Geelong, Surf Coast and Mitchell Shire, will benefit from the $ 196.6 million fund set up by the Andrews government.
Cash grants will compensate companies for the loss of income due to the work ban from September 21 to October 4.
Cash grants to aid costs for the construction sector
- Companies with an annual payroll of up to $ 650,000: $ 2,000 to $ 2,800
- Companies with an annual payroll of $ 650,000 to $ 3 million: $ 5,600
- Companies with an annual payroll of $ 3 million to $ 10 million: $ 8,400
Separately, construction workers and non-GST-registered self-employed traders who lost hours can claim payments in the event of a COVID-19 disaster.
After explaining how the new grants worked, Mr. Pallas took aim at the Commonwealth, saying the grants could have been “doubled” if the Morrison government had agreed to contribute.
“We are very, very unhappy that the Commonwealth Government has broken with its practice of co-funding business support programs in Victoria and refused to contribute to this industry,” he said.
“The Commonwealth has explicitly refused to pay for the construction industry,” he said, accusing the Morrison government of “blatant favorable treatment” for NSW.
“The Commonwealth has funded a similar program to support construction companies in New South Wales,” Pallas said.
The construction sector is expected to reopen Tuesday after a two-week break in the industry attributed by Mr. Pallas to the “disrespect” and “appalling behavior” of the protesters.
Industry was shut down in metropolitan Melbourne and other locked down local government areas from 11.59pm last Monday following a rally outside CFMEU headquarters.
Large crowds then gathered to protest the building ban and the lockdown, marching through Melbourne and gathering on the steps of parliament, the Shrine of Remembrance and the CFMEU building.
This came after Chief Medical Officer of Health Professor Brett Sutton made vaccination mandatory for the construction industry and banned breaks and tea rooms at workplaces following high levels transmission of COVID.
All construction workers were required to show their employer proof of a first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine by 11:59 p.m. on September 23.
Mr Pallas issued a ‘crystal clear’ warning that there is a ‘zero tolerance approach to non-compliance’ when the sector reopens
“Every step of the way, the health and safety of every Victorian is our number one priority,” he said.
It comes after Victoria on Saturday reported 1,488 cases of COVID-19, a record, and two new deaths.