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COVID-19: member update #8

April 30, 2020

Restrictions Begin to Lift

Last Sunday the WA Government announced the first easing of public gathering restrictions, allowing up to 10 people to gather from Monday 27 April. As part of the announcement, special mention was made of the ability for display homes to reopen under updated health and hygiene arrangements. To support the new arrangements, HIA released a revised guideline for display homes

From today, NSW residents are now permitted to have two adults (and any dependent children) visit another household.

The Northern Territory released a road map to recovery yesterday which also begins today. Stage 1 includes the reopening of display homes, real estate open homes and auctions. 

From tomorrow, 2 May, Queensland residents will be allowed to travel up to 50km from their home for recreational purposes.

And today, the ACT Chief Minister, also announced an easing of travel restrictions to visit family and an increase in the number of people that can gather in a home.

In parallel with these decisions, the Prime Minister outlined today that the National Cabinet will announce the first stage reopening of the economy next Friday, 8 May – a week earlier than originally intended. 

HIA calls for Access to Display Homes

Following the WA and NT moves to allow greater access to display homes, HIA has approached the National Cabinet requesting that these updated arrangements be adopted in all other states and territories. We look forward to receiving a positive response to assist new home builders reconnect with their customers.

COVIDSafe App

As the National Cabinet works to consider easing movement and public gathering restrictions the COVIDSafe app has been released by the Government as a voluntary tool to help health workers trace people that may come into contact with the virus.

COVIDSafe recognises other devices with the COVIDSafe app installed and Bluetooth enabled. When the app recognises another user, it notes the date, time, distance and duration of the contact and the other user’s reference code. The COVIDSafe app does not collect your location. 

On building sites where a variety of workers cross paths that you may not personally know, or in renovation projects where the owner remains in the house, the COVIDSafe app can provide a useful tool to include in your safety toolkit.

Having confidence that health professionals can find and contain outbreaks quickly will mean governments can ease restrictions while still keeping Australians safe. That hopefully means that home building can return to a new normal sooner rather than later. 

HIA has sent a text message to all members today recommending they download the app and to help protect ourselves, our families and our industry.

JobKeeper Extension of time to enrol to 31 May 2020

You now have until 31 May to enrol for the JobKeeper Scheme and still be able to claim payments for the first two fortnights (30 March – 12 April, 13 April – 26 April), provided you meet all the eligibility requirements for each for those fortnights. This includes that you must have paid your employees for each fortnight by at least 8 May. If you do not pay your staff by this date (including those staff that may have been stood down or rehired), you will not be able to claim JobKeeper for the first two fortnights.

Key dates

  • Before you enrol: you must notify each eligible employee that you intend to claim JobKeeper Payments by having them complete the JobKeeper employee nomination notice and returning it to you for your records.
  • From 20 April: enrol for JobKeeper payment.
  • 4 May onwards: identify your employees to the ATO.
  • By 8 May: pay your employees $1,500 for each fortnight to claim JobKeeper payments for the first 2 JobKeeper fortnights.
  • 31 May: final date to enrol to claim for the first 2 JobKeeper fortnights.
  • Each month: reconfirm eligibility.

The ATO has produced a series of guides about the JobKeeper Scheme.

HIA has also developed a series of factsheets and webinars on the JobKeeper Payment to assist members understand these requirements. The process can be complex and members requiring assistance can contact HIA’s Workplace Services team on 1300 650 620 or enquiry@hia.com.au.

NCC 2019 Energy Efficiency requirements takes effect

While the National Construction Code (NCC) 2019 was introduced on 1 May 2019 significant changes in relation to energy efficiency provisions for houses, apartments and commercial buildings were provided with a 12 month transition period by the ABCB.

This transition period expired yesterday meaning the new provisions take effect, apart from Western Australia, from today – 1 May 2020. Some states have existing state variations to the NCC which remain in place.

HIA has been supporting members to understand the changes with our latest series of NCC webinars. Over 300 people have attended these webinars in the last two weeks providing positive feedback.

A national webinar is being held on the Section J (commercial buildings) energy efficiency changes. This will bring together a range of experts to provide a more detailed understanding of these new requirements. This national webinar will be a must for anyone building, designing, specifying, assessing or approving buildings or supplying products to Class 2-9 buildings including mixed use apartments, commercial buildings, shops, cafes, office buildings and other similar buildings.

 

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The next seven days be will hugely important for all Australians.

By ensuring our industry continues to make space on site by adhering to HIA’s Making space on site industry guidelines, by downloading the COVIDsafe app and by continuing to look after your own health, your staff and your customers, we can all help to get our economy moving again.