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Victoria's property sector could be heading for a grinding halt

04 August 2020

Victoria’s strict new stage four restrictions could bring the state’s property sector to a standstill.

Under the COVID rules the Premier Daniel Andrews says property operators and real estate services would have to close for on-site work as of this week.

It is still up in the air as to whether prospective buyers will be able attend one-on-one inspections, and the industry is waiting on further comment from the Premier.

The housing construction side of things will be cut back to skeleton levels, from this week developers of multi-level apartment buildings will be forced to cut staff to less than 25 per cent of normal levels.

Home building construction will only be allowed to have up to five people on site.

“Our construction sector, in many ways the lifeblood of our economy, will also move to pilot-light levels,” Premier Andrews said this week.

“This will allow the industry to keep ticking, while also making sure we limit the number of people on site.”

The unfortunate restrictions throw doubt around the viability of projects and the future of successful applications for the federal HomeBuilder grant.

Work numbers on housing projects are under the microscope after 12 workers tested positive to COVID-19 from a high-rise apartment building on Spencer Street in the CBD.

Urban Development Institute of Australia chief executive Danni Hunter told Domain the cut to worker numbers on construction sites would spell the end for many projects.

“It will absolutely slow down the industry and for some it won’t be viable to continue,” she said.

“We’re concerned for employees of the industry whose jobs are under threat.”

Premier Andrews said industries needed to close to stop the spread of the virus and to save lives.

The restrictions mean the state’s workforce will be cut by another 250,000 people, which comes on top of the initial 250,000 people who lost their jobs in the COVID first wave.

The Premier said they are heartbreaking decisions, but decisions that are having to be made without a choice.

 

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