Victorian Policy & Advocacy Update 210330

The latest Victorian advocacy and policy updating including Institute member survey on New Apartment Guidelines and Standards, the Building Surveyor’s Code of Conduct and more.

REMINDER ABOUT INSTITUTE MEMBER SURVEY ON NEW APARTMENT GUIDELINES AND STANDARDS

Victorian Chapter members (and members, where relevant, from other Chapters) are invited and strongly encouraged to provide their feedback and questions about the new Victorian  Apartment Design Guidelines and Standards via a survey hosted in our Victorian Chapter Survey Monkey account. The purpose of the survey is to provide a robust evidence base for advocacy back to the Victorian Government about our members’ perceptions and questions about the new guidelines and standards. Submit your response here

Please also note that the Victorian Chapter is currently liaising with DELWP about a further information session planned for April. Your feedback and questions provided via the survey will help inform the session.

BUILDING SURVEYORS’ CODE OF CONDUCT

On Thursday 25 March, the Victorian Building Authority gave a presentation to the Large Practice Forum in the new Code of Conduct for Building Surveyors which came in to effect on 1 January. One of the eight principles of the Code of Conduct that was of considerable interest to members, was Principle 4 of the Code of Conduct which requires Building Surveyors to act independently  and Rule of Conduct 4.2 under Principle 4, which specifies that Building Surveyors do not participate in or give advice on the development of designs or performance solutions for proposed building work before or after accepting an engagement to be the relevant building surveyor for that building work. The Victorian Building Authority representative advised that there would be further promotion and education about the Code of Conduct across the construction sector this year. There Code of Conduct and related information can be found here.

FUTURE HOMES ANNOUNCEMENT

Four innovative apartment designs have been announced as winners in the Victorian Government’s s Future Homes design competition which has sought designs that could be easily replicated across Melbourne to suit diverse households. These winning designers and architects will now work with the Department of Environment Land Water and Planning and the Office of the Victorian Government Architect to refine their entries into design models. The new Victorian Department of Families, Fairness and Housing will also incorporate the designs into future social housing developments. Features of the winning designs included high-quality open plan living spaces, useable communal spaces to encourage interaction between neighbours, and adaptable designs suited to the needs of a changing population. For more information on Future Homes and to see the winning designs visit here.

VICTORIAN GOVERNMENT WAGES SUBSIDY FUND OPENS

On 26 March, the Victorian Government opened applications for the Jobs Victoria Fund, a wage subsidy program that supports businesses to hire people whose employment has been most affected by the pandemic.

As part of the initiative, Victorian small and medium-sized businesses, sole traders, local councils, social enterprises, universities and not-for-profits are invited to apply for a share of $250 million in wage subsidies to create new jobs for at least 10,000 people.

The Fund provides a wage subsidy of up to $20,000 per eligible employee to meet the costs of taking on new workers for the first 12 months of their employment.

The Jobs Victoria Fund recognises that women’s employment has been disproportionately affected by the pandemic, with $150 million of the fund dedicated to supporting women back into work, including $50 million supporting women over the age of 45. Other priority groups include young people, those who have been unemployed for six months or more, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, refugees and asylum seekers, and people living with a disability.

Employers looking for more information on the Jobs Victoria Fund can call the Jobs Victoria hotline on 1300 208 575. They can also register on the Jobs Victoria online hub to post jobs and recruit skilled and qualified people looking for work in their local area. 

For more information, eligibility criteria, or to apply for the Jobs Victoria Fund, visit here.

FURTHER RELAXATION TO COVID RESTRICTIONS IN VICTORIA - WORKPLACES

As of 6:00pm Friday 26 March, the 75 per cent cap on private and public offices workers was removed. While all workplaces are still required to ensure people can work from the office in a COVIDSafe way – with a density limit of 1 person per 2sqm – they will no longer be required to permit workers to work from home. In addition, masks are no longer be required in retail settings but Victorians will still need to carry one with them at all times and wear a mask on public transport, in rideshare vehicles and taxis and in sensitive settings such as aged care facilities and hospitals.