Hundreds of construction workers have marched across the Melbourne CBD for the past two days to protest the state’s current lockdown.
The Victorian Government has now shut down the Melbourne construction industry for two weeks, following a violent protest on Monday morning.
Protestors stormed the Construction, Forestry, Maritime, Mining, and Energy Union (CFMEU) offices to fight against recent lockdown measures introduced for public safety, as the number of Covid-19 cases continues to grow.
On Tuesday morning, the body of a Melbourne man was found at a construction site, only hours after the construction shutdown was announced.
The man’s death has supercharged the protest for a second day, as construction workers block the West Gate Freeway, screaming, “f*** the jab”.
The construction shutdown is expected to cost more than $6 billion, with a loss of $455m a day and $63m in lost wages. As the building and construction industry is the fourth largest sector in Victoria, the shutdown is expected to hit hard.
The Master Builders Association chief executive Rebecca Casson said while the shutdown was understandable considering the circumstances it was frustrating for everyone involved.
“We understand the position the Victorian government is in,” she said in a story in The Guardian.
“However, we can also see the frustration that this decision brings, especially shutting down our industry one day after announcing a roadmap to Covid-normal.”
But construction isn’t the only industry which has been impacted by the lockdown and public health safety orders.
The hospitality industry is one of the most impacted industries, especially with such frequent lockdowns and mask mandates. In fact, sobering statistics reveal that the hospitality industry ended 2020 with total sales that were $240 billion below the pre-Covid-19 average.
The recent protest in Melbourne has sparked a conversation about what’s acceptable in the world of mandates and public safety orders. As the NSW government begins to consider the ‘no vax, no work’ policy, so too has Victoria, as they slowly start to implement the 80 per cent vaccinated rule, in order for restrictions to ease.
On Saturday, Council on the Ageing (COTA) Australia said residents in aged care were safer than ever after the Federal Government confirmed almost all aged care staff – 97.6 per cent and rising – had received at least one Covid jab and almost 80 per cent were fully vaccinated against the virus.