Construction restrictions ease


11th August, 2021

Sydney lockdown: Construction restrictions ease today

Toll road reporting shows traffic around Sydney surged as restrictions ease for the trades and construction sector.

Reported earlier this week by The Sydney Morning Herald, traffic on some of the NSW capital’s major toll roads saw a bump of almost 25 percent after restrictions began easing for construction businesses.

And roads are set to get busier still, with the government now allowing vaccinated construction workers back on site, and many recently unoccupied construction sites opening up to 50 percent of their regular capacity today.

Vaccines for tradespeople from hotspots

Tradespeople from the eight local government areas (LGAs) facing lockdown restrictions will be added to the list of authorised workers, and therefore able to leave those LGAs for work if they’ve been fully vaccinated.

They may also return to work if they’ve received one dose of vaccine a minimum of 21 days prior to their return. If they’ve had a first dose within three weeks, they’ll need to supply a negative COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours of returning to work.

The updated rules and ongoing restrictions for construction sector workers can be found on the NSW government website.

“For the industry to remain viable, we need to restart those projects and get construction workers where they are most needed,” said NSW state treasurer Dominic Perrottet last weekend.

“But we also need to minimise the risk of COVID-19 transmission to keep our communities safe, and these measures will help us achieve that balance.”

This represents a marked change from the state government’s initial two-week construction ban, which coincided with a drop of more than 60 percent of traffic movement, according to Transurban and despite the fact that NSW continues to report significant case numbers each day.

READ: 4 major benefits of advanced leave management

Service NSW tweaks rules for business support grants

Despite the easing restrictions for construction, many businesses have already been severely impacted by lockdowns and in need of government support.

And, unlike with JobKeeper support in 2020, Sydney-based businesses are now looking to Service NSW to manage and deliver that support.

Recently, Service NSW revealed it has received 104,000 applications for its COVID-19 Business Grant, with $278 million approved to be paid, while the Micro-business Grant has attracted 22,000 businesses, with $417,000 worth of payments approved.

Finally, over 67,000 businesses are also on JobSaver, with $86 million approved for payment.

The government agency recently held a webinar for accountants to help clarify how businesses can best access support, providing an update on comparison periods to be used for demonstrating a decline in turnover caused by restrictions.

Updates for demonstrating decline in turnover for NSW:

  • Decline in turnover compares a minimum 2-week period against the same period in 2019, 2020 or the fortnight immediately prior to lockdown commencing (26 June)
  • Decline in turnover should be reported using the same method the business uses for GST accounting (either cash or accrual)
  • Accountants can now apply for support payments on their clients’ behalf (with a letter of authority from the business if the accountant isn’t listed as an associate on the Australian Business Register)

READ: Am I eligible? Calculating decline in turnover for business support