Development trade warns corporations will fold and jobs shall be misplaced if Sydney COVID-19 lockdown is prolonged

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The construction industry has warned of “catastrophic” consequences if the two-week construction freeze in NSW is extended.

Important points:

  • Construction industry warns that a large number of construction companies could collapse
  • Concern about the mental health effects of construction workers
  • Lakemba MP Jihad Dib says people want to see a way out

Jon Davies, CEO of the Australian Constructors Association, said it was likely that “quite a large number of companies would collapse”.

Mr Davies said he had been advised that things were looking good for a return to work on July 31, but he feared that if community broadcast did not decrease by then, the advice could change.

“I think that would be disastrous news for the industry, especially for our supply chain,” he said.

“We’re not starting from a great position and that position is going to get worse.”

He said the construction industry is already responsible for a quarter of all corporate bankruptcies in Australia.

“I don’t think it takes too much to see that number rise very significantly.”

There were also concerns about the mental health impact of an extension of the lockdown on construction workers in the greater Sydney area.

The head of the Australian Constructors Association wants quick tests on construction sites.

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Mr Davis said workers on construction sites are already six times more likely to die from suicide than from an accident at work.

“A very significant part of our workforce in Sydney comes from these LGAs [local government areas] who are currently at the center of this lockdown, “he said.

“You can only imagine the additional mental health problems that prolonged lockdown would bring these workers.”

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With around 200,000 construction workers in the greater Sydney area, the industry has proposed rolling out daily rapid COVID-19 antigen tests to construction sites to get people back to work.

“Right now, as an industry, we are not allowed to do this from the Department of Health or to hire companies to do it,” said Davies.

“But this is currently being discussed.”

A change in lockdown rules late Tuesday meant work could be done on unoccupied premises in preparation for sale or rental.

This was good news for John Gitany, who runs a home renovation and crafting business in Sydney’s inner west.

“It was exciting to go through my email late at night to see what properties are vacant,” he said.

A man with a face mask paints a door frame.Home improvement and builder John Gitany says the effects of the lockdown have been heartbreaking. (

ABC: Tim Swanston

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Mr Gitany said the effects of the lockdown were “heartbreaking”.

“We’re not in an industry where we can work from home,” he said.

“I still have the costs and the bills and the school fees and nothing to pay for it all.”

He said the worst part was having to tell his staff.

“Some of them are planning families, having babies, mortgages and the like,” said Gitany.

“One of my boys, his wife, has been unemployed for 18 months because of COVID and now he’s been unemployed for two weeks, so they actually have nothing at all.”

He said he had followed all advice from the NSW government to make sure his business was COVID safe.

“We tried to do everything according to the rules,” he said.

“Then this shutdown happens and it’s like it’s all in vain.”

Mr Gitany wants smaller construction companies like his, who may only have one or two workers on site, to be excluded from the lockdown.

“Lockdown fatigue” setting in

A man in an open collar shirt looks off the camera. Lakemba MP Jihad Dib has warned of “lockdown fatigue” and said that people want to see a way out. (

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Lakemba MP Jihad Dib said many people in his electorate in west Sydney are struggling.

“Every day I get more and more calls from people who just need help,” he said.

“I think it gets harder the longer it takes.”

He said there was a risk of “lockdown fatigue”.

“People are ready at the moment to do whatever they have been told, they will be vaccinated, they will be tested,” he said.

“But they want to see a way out.”

He said hearing that the daily number of cases did not decrease despite the lockdown was “playing with the psyche of the people”.

“There’s a real sense of deflation in the community right now, simply because everything we’ve tried so far hasn’t worked,” Dib said.

an empty street in Lakemba western SydneyMany residents in west Sydney are fighting and asking for support. (

AAP: Mick Tsikas

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University of Sydney epidemiologist Angela Webster said it was “very unlikely” that the conditions would be right for the lockdown to be lifted next Friday.

“I think it will probably be another four to eight weeks,” said Professor Webster.

“I suspect this will develop in such a way that we will extend a hard ban a little longer and when we see some improvement and the case numbers go down there will be a careful easing and there will be things like education.” Blowing or allowing a limited number of people outside. “

Stephen Leeder, professor emeritus of public health and community medicine at the University of Sydney, said infection numbers were stabilizing.

“It’s a matter of opinion whether we should go harder and broader, but my interpretation of the numbers is that we are actually doing pretty well,” he said.

Professor Leeder said that everything was already being done to contain the virus.

“Right now there really is no other visible way forward,” he said.

“We are all well advised to stick to the rules as much as possible.”

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