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Update #9 on COVID-19 restrictions – Victoria

September 18, 2020

It is important that members are aware of ongoing changes occurring under restrictions in metropolitan Melbourne and Regional Victoria, and how these may impact your day to day business operations over the coming weeks.

Worker Permits

With the extension of stage 4 restrictions in metropolitan Melbourne, all existing Worker Permits will need to be re-issued as they will pass their expiry date.

The Worker Permit system applies to workers permitted to leave home to attend work in the Melbourne metropolitan area. The Worker Permit system also applies to workers who live in the Melbourne metropolitan area but work in Regional Victoria.

The original worker permit template required an expiry date to be nominated, which could be up to 13 September 2020. The new worker permits do not need to have an expiry date although it is suggested an expiry at the end of October be used for now.

The Government has also indicated that it intends to boost enforcement of restrictions on people in Melbourne traveling to regional Victoria. Any existing worker permits issued to workers living in Melbourne but working in regional Victoria may be subject to greater scrutiny.

An information sheet with details of the worker permit system for Victoria is available on hia.com.au.

Restrictions Update

Metropolitan Melbourne – Stage 4

Members will be aware that the stage 4 lockdown for Melbourne has been extended past 13 September 2020. Some changes to the restrictions on our personal lives have been made but no changes to business restrictions have been implemented this week.

In Melbourne the first step for relaxation of business restrictions is not expected until at least Monday 28 September 2020. The Government has announced that the trigger for this step is reaching an average daily case rate in metropolitan Melbourne of 30-50 cases over a 14-day period with public health advice regarding transmission source for cases. This suggests that if there are a number of cases where the source cannot be identified the move to the next step may be delayed.

HIA has raised our concerns about the extended lockdown and the impact on our industry with the Premier and relevant Ministers and we will continue to do so. While there are a range of concerns, HIA is particularly focused on the lack of certainty for the renovation industry and their clients (which effectively remains locked down until at least 26 October 2020). The other key concerns are assisting potential clients to meet with their builder to prepare for future projects and also visits display homes.

HIA will continue to work with the Government on these issues and keep members updated on progress.

Regional Victoria – Reopening Roadmap

The Government has announced this week a relaxation of restrictions for Regional Victoria. These relaxations do not have an immediate impact on the residential building industry. Read more.

Victorian Government Business Initiative

The Government has also announced a number of business support initiatives for the survival and adaptation of businesses impacted by the stage 4 lockdown. More information about these initiatives is available.

The main initiatives that may assist some members:

  • Deferral (but not waiving) of payroll tax for the 2020-2021 financial year – this means that the payroll tax still needs to be paid but can be paid in future years.
  • A waiver of the vacant residential land tax for the 2020 calendar year.
  • Stamp duty relief for purchases of commercial and industrial property in regional Victoria.
  • Business support grants of between $10,000 and $20,000 for small to medium businesses.

The next round of business support grants will be open soon and more information is available.

While the payroll tax deferral is a welcome short term solution, it will clearly be difficult for businesses currently shutdown and those attempting to recover post-lockdown to meet this obligation. HIA will take up this issue in our ongoing discussions with the Government to seek a more appropriate and fair approach.

Contact a HIA Workplace Adviser

1300 650 620

or email vic_enquiry@hia.com.au