SA – COVID19 Update for Members

Advocacy Update 23/7/21

The Government decided yesterday to selectively reopen some construction sites as of Monday 26th July. 

We understand that DIT has been directly in contact with the practices involved to communicate the decision. 

No formal notification has been issued to date, with selected organisations being informed via a private email sent from the Premier’s office.

The Institute has been monitorng the situation and has written to the Premier and SafeWork SA to:

  • seek clarification regarding the selection of these specific sites
  • query the way in which this information was communicated to the community and stakeholders
  • question why all school construction site were locked down in the first place, when the Level 5 Requirements exempt construction of critical infrastructure, including schools
  • remind government that restarting construction needs to be inclusive of architects, as well as other consultants, as essential workers.

We trust that practices are well and truly settled into work from home arrangements by this time.  If you have concerns or queries that the Institute may be able to assist with, please contact us.  

21 July 2021

The Institute wants to clarify that building and construction has not been classified as an essential industry under the Level 5 Requirements.  Only construction activity as follows is permitted:

  • essential infrastructure (within the meaning of the Planning, Development and Infrastructure Act 2016) and essential services (within the meaning of the Essential Services Act 1981) and other services required to maintain and protect human health, safety and wellbeing including electricity, gas, water, sewerage, drainage and liquid fuels and refinery operations; waste and recycling services (including collection, treatment and disposal services and transfer stations), but only those services that are provided to commercial contractors; and construction, maintenance and repair of schools, roads and other essential infrastructure
  • critical repairs or works to any facility, site or premises where required for emergency or safety or to maintain and ensure the integrity of critical plant, equipment or assets, including partially completed works, that would otherwise deteriorate (and including any associated matter such as any necessary assessment for insurance purposes, or engineering or other expert assessment or inspection)

The Level 5 Requirements can be accessed here.  This includes the full list of essential workers.

If you believe that you are required to attend a construction site for any reasons stated in the two dot points above, the Institute recommends that you can clearly demonstrate that:

  • you are required to attend to provide an expert assessment or inspection in relation to:
    • works for the construction maintenance or repair of essential infrastructure or
    • critical repairs or works to maintain and ensure the integrity of critical plant, equipment or assets
  • you cannot perform the services required remotely

This could be in the form of a written statement from the contractor and/or client stating why the services you are being asked to provide meet the Level 5 Requirements.  Alternatively, you should be able to clearly articulate why you are providing an essential service as defined in the Level 5 Requirements.  It would be beneficial to have a copy of the Level 5 Requirements available to support your case.

You should also ensure that you observe all COVID requirements applicable to the site.

Financial support for South Australian businesses and workers announced

South Australian small and medium-sized businesses suffering a significant loss of income, or forced to close as a result of the state’s seven day lockdown, will be offered a $3,000 emergency cash grant as part of a major financial assistance package announced today by the Government of South Australia. Read the media release.

The $100 million Business Support Package will assist an estimated 50,000 eligible SMEs to cover ongoing operating costs such as rent, power bills, supplier and raw material costs and other fees.

The major support package also includes a new $1,000 cash grant for eligible small businesses who don’t employ staff (eg non-employing sole traders). 

To be eligible for the one-off $3,000 emergency cash grant, a business must, as at 12:01am Tuesday 20 July 2021: 

  • Be located within South Australia 
  • Have an annual turnover of $75,000 or more in 2020-21 or 2019-20, and be registered for GST 
  • Employ people in South Australia 
  • Have an Australia-wide payroll of less than $10 million in 2019-20 
  • Have a valid Australian Business Number (ABN) 
  • Experienced at least a 30 per cent reduction (compared to the week prior) in turnover due to the restricted trading conditions. 

To be eligible for the one-off $1,000 emergency cash grant, a non-employing business must meet the criteria listed above excluding the requirement to employ people.

To be eligible for the one-off $1,000 emergency cash grant, a non-employing business must meet the criteria listed above excluding the requirement to employ people.

Applications for the grant are expected to open within the next two weeks via the SA Treasury website and grants will be processed as quickly as possible. 

To register interest in business support cash grants, visit the SA Treasury website or email smallbusinessgrant@sa.gov.au

Support for Workers

Financial support will also be made available for many employees who have been adversely affected by the current COVID-19 lockdown. 

From next Wednesday, 28 July, workers in the nationally-designated hotspots of Adelaide, Adelaide Hills and Gawler who lose between eight hours and 20 hours of work during the first week of lockdown may be eligible for a $375 COVID-19 Disaster Payment from the Australian Government. 

Those who have lost more than 20 hours may be eligible for $600. 

The Government of South Australia has today announced matched levels of support for workers outside of these nationally-designated hotspots, who have been subjected to the same lockdown restrictions but may not meet the criteria for a national COVID-19 Disaster Payment (which is limited to those located in an active hotspot). 
Despite the different sources of funding, all eligible South Australians will apply for this financial support through the same Australian Government (Services Australia) system, with applications opening in the next couple of weeks. 

Once approved, payments will be paid in arrears for the 7-day period from 20 July. 

Advocacy

The Institute will be advocating to the SA Government that architects undertaking site-based activities be included as essential workers as restrictions ease and construction work recommences. 

We will provide updates via the SA News on the Institute’s website. Chapter staff are working from home and remain available on mobiles and email. Contact sa@architecture.com.au for contracts or assistance and advice.