Message from Queensland Chapter President

Letter to the premier & ministerial construction council meeting

Dear colleagues

So much has happened since 23 March – the date that we’ll all remember as the full impacts of COVID-19 started to be felt in Queensland, Australia and globally.

Your Chapter Council and the Chapter staff have been working on a number of advocacy fronts to ensure the survival of our sector. I want to bring you up to date on what has been happening, particularly regarding our liaison with the State Government.

Last week, this letter was sent to the Queensland Premier, Annastacia Palaszczuk, with a copy to other ministers including Mick de Brenni, Minister for Housing and Public Works. The letter was drafted with the input of all Councillors and contains a number of options to support our profession both immediately and in the future. 

On Wednesday 1 April, Paul Trotter and I attended a Ministerial Construction Council teleconference, chaired by Minister de Brenni. The focus of the meeting was on workforce and supply chain issues.

Paul and I thanked the Minister for making the effort to communicate and consult. We stated that we believe it’s important for the Minister to understand that services such as master planning, concept design, documentation and approval applications are all essential supply chain issues. Every week that goes by with these services on hold, or projects are stopped, is another week that a builder/subcontractor/supplier cannot start on a project.

We also raised the issue of contracts, which, in the current climate do not have provision for mutual suspension of projects. Some guidance and a framework for dealing with contract special clauses would be beneficial for all.

Lastly, we made the key point that our students, graduates and young employees appear to be disproportionately affected in the new working arrangements (i.e. looking for work, reduced opportunities for mentoring, potentially more vulnerable to being stood down, adjusting to new working arrangements, financially vulnerable, etc.). In the long term, this is something that will need specific attention, especially if it trends towards losing people from the profession. 

I hope you are all staying healthy and safe.

Michael Lavery