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Wrecking ball: Construction lockout tipped to cost $500m a day

“Even more financial support will be needed to help business get through, but we know the cost of this extension will be measured in mental health and social impacts as well as economic terms.”

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Master Builders of Victoria chief executive Rebecca Casson said she understood the reasons for the tougher lockdown but said it was “disappointing” for an industry that had a good record for COVID-19 infection control.

“Our sector has a strong proven track record of keeping work sites safe,” she said. “This can be demonstrated by the cases of COVID-19 on work sites being very small in comparison to overall cases in the Victorian community.

“Even at the height of the pandemic in 2020, the ratio of building and construction cases compared to the wider community was one to 7.5.”

The Urban Development Institute of Australia, representing the residential development sector, called for a clear plan to get the industry back to work once safe.

“We hope that today’s announcement is matched by a pathway to return the industry to full strength as soon as possible, reflecting its commitment to COVID-safe practices and its world-class industry and union co-operation to keep work sites safe,” chief executive Matthew Kandelaars said.

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