The CFMEU’s South Australian construction division has attacked the South Australian government for not requiring a cohort of specialist workers coming into South Australia from New South Wales to complete a full fortnight of quarantine.
Workers employed by ACCIONA, a contracting firm, are only being required to quarantine for 36 hours, according to Andrew Sutherland, the CFMEU SA Construction secretary.
“South Australian construction workers would be justified to feel concerned they will be working alongside people who have come from covid-19 hotspots,” Sutherland said.
“The union has confirmed that the contractors will be unlikely to be able to maintain social distancing onsite due to the requirements of the work on the project.”
Sutherland said that the permission granted to ACCIONA contractors means that the requirements for interstate workers to use separate facilities and gear when onsite are meaningless.
“The Marshall government is creating one set of rules for itself and one for everyone else, just as they did in July when their own construction projects were allowed to re-open whilst the rest of the state, including all other construction, stayed in lock down,” Sutherland said.
While the CFMEU’s South Australian branch has expressed concern over the relaxing of certain COVID restrictions for contractors from New South Wales, the union’s Victorian and Tasmanian branch has recently called for what are known as ‘gold standard’ construction sites to reopen.
‘Gold standard’ construction sites are recognised by the Victorian COVID-19 Taskforce as having the highest compliance with health orders as they apply to the construction sector.
The union said that any recent outbreaks on construction sites would have occurred on sites that did not have ‘gold standard’ certification.
Concern about outbreaks on construction sites has caused the Victorian government to put together teams of inspectors to check whether the construction industry is following health orders.
Site inspections are taking place at the same time as the state government has kicked off a vaccination blitz in order to ensure that construction workers get vaccinated in greater numbers as quickly as possible.