Electrical Contracting, Service Industry and Equipment Technicians

Electrical Contracting, Service Industry and Equipment Technicians

Partial re-opening of Greater Sydney construction 31 July

Peter Moss - Wednesday, July 28, 2021

ETU Briefing


Partial re-opening of Greater Sydney construction 31 July


COVID-19 Disaster Payment increased + new welfare supplement


There will be a partial re-opening of construction in Greater Sydney from 31 July, with preparatory works permitted from 29 July.


However construction will remain closed in eight Local Government Areas. Workers residing in those eight LGAs will not be authorised to leave their LGA to work on sites across Greater Sydney.


The eight affected LGAs are:


• Fairfield
• Liverpool
• Canterbury-Bankstown
• Blacktown
• Cumberland
• Parramatta
• Campbelltown
• Georges River.


This partial lifting of the Greater Sydney construction lockdown was announced by the NSW Government today, 28 July.


The ETU welcomes the partial re-opening, however the announcement falls short of the full re-opening sought by the ETU and other unions.


The ETU has met daily with industry unions, employers and the NSW Government over the past two weeks.


Together the industry parties developed a plan that we believed should have allowed the construction sector to open safely.


The NSW Government has today adopted many of the controls from our plan, however the Government refused to let work proceed in the eight LGAs, and has prevented construction workers from those eight areas from being able to leave for work.


The information below summarises the NSW Government requirements and guidelines for the partial re-opening of the Greater Sydney construction sector.


Also below are updates on the increased COVID-19 Disaster Payment and new welfare supplement.


COVID-19 Safety Plans


Every site in Greater Sydney must complete a COVID-19 Safety Plan.


You can view the Plan here: https://www.nsw.gov.au/covid-19/covid-safe


Plans must be completed before works can recommence on Saturday 31 July (or whenever construction recommences) and a printed copy of the Plan must be available for inspection on site. 


Urgent construction work can continue before and after 31 July, including in the eight identified LGAs.


Preparatory works


From Thursday 29 July 2021, some preparatory work is permitted on construction sites, including:


• checking or maintaining installations or equipment
• cleaning, waste removal or waste management
• stocktaking or restocking
• delivery of materials or equipment
• servicing or installation of amenities
• relocation on the construction site of plant or equipment
• issuing permits or certificates
• establishing arrangements or procedures to help protect persons from COVID-19
• erecting fencing or hoarding
• inspections, including for technical reasons, or safety, including work, health and safety, or for valuations or other financial reasons
• removing water
• connecting power, fuel or services
• safety work, including work related to fire safety or electrical safety
• surveying or marking out
• training required to be carried out on the construction site.


Residential Premises


Work can resume at residential premises from 31 July, subject to strict conditions.


There must be no contact between residents and workers.Residents must vacate the area of works.


Maximum of five outdoor and two indoor workers. 


Work on residential premises is not permitted in the eight identified LGAs. Workers from those eight LGAs cannot leave home to work.


Supply chain support


Businesses which are critical to the construction supply chain will be permitted to operate, including in the eight identified LGAs.


Critical businesses include those manufacturing construction materials, support and components.


Workers in Greater Sydney, including the eight LGAs, will be authorised to leave their LGAs to work in critical supply chain businesses. General construction workers are not authorised.


Financial assistance for construction & lift sector workers


The union has provided two previous ETU Briefings on financial assistance available to members.


Today we can update members regarding the COVID-19Disaster Payment and a new welfare supplement.


The COVID-19 Disaster Payment for Greater Sydney has increased to $750 weekly, for those who have lost 20 hours or more work. The new weekly rate for those who have lost between eight hours and 19 hours work is $450.


Apply for COVID-19 Disaster Payment here (you will first need to set up a myGov account): https://www.servicesaustralia.gov.au/individuals/services/centrelink/covid-19-disaster-payment-new-south-wales/how-claim


Welfare recipients in Greater Sydney who have lost at least eight hours work per week can claim a welfare supplement of $200 per week, from next Tuesday.


Read the 17 July ETU Financial Assistance Briefinghttps://etunsw.com.au/electrical-contracting-and-servicing/financial-support-during-greater-sydney-construction-shutdown


Read the 20 July ETU Financial Assistance Update: https://etunsw.com.au/electrical-contracting-and-servicing/5-000-mert-hardship-payment-covid-disaster-payment-leave-eligibilit



ETU information and support


The ETU welcomes this partial re-opening of the Greater Sydney construction sector. However we are disappointed that many workers have been excluded because they live in the eight LGAs.


We continue to meet with industry stakeholders and will continue to push for a full re-opening on the construction sector, with members able to work safely.


All ETU organisers and staff are working to support our members. Please contact the ETU at etunsw@etunsw.com.auor (02) 9267 4844 or via your organiser for information, advice and support. Organiser contacts below.


Proud to be union


Allen Hicks

Secretary, ETU NSW & ACT


ETU construction organisers


 Fred Barbin fredb@etunsw.com.au 0437 031 840

 Stewart Edward stewarte@etunsw.com.au 0419 210 442

 Antony Stegic antonyc@etunsw.com.au 0414 877 943

 Nick Bligh nickb@etunsw.com.au 0475 284 234

 Lawrie Duff lawrenced@etunsw.com.au 0400 749 008


 ETU lift industry organiser

 Steve Bankes steveb@etunsw.com.au 0414 877 553








Financial support update: $5,000 MERT hardship payment & Covid Disaster Payment leave eligibility

Peter Moss - Tuesday, July 20, 2021

ETU construction and lift sector members who are stood down and belong to redundancy trust MERT are eligible to apply for a $5,000 hardship payment that should arrive within days.


The ETU can now confirm, based on official NSW Government advice, that members stood down during the construction lockdown are eligible for Covid Disaster Payment, even when taking annual and four other categories of leave.


This ETU Briefing updates the financial support information provided to members on 17 July. 


You can view the 17 July ETU Briefing here.


MERT $5,000 hardship payment 


MERT has increased the hardship payment to eligible ETU members from $2,000 to $5,000.


This $5,000 is available to ETU members who are stood down due to the construction shutdown and who are MERT members.


A second $5,000 MERT hardship payment will become available five weeks later, if needed.


The current wait time for the hardship payment is approximately three days from application, due to high demand.


The ETU is monitoring wait times. We will ask MERT to ensure enough staff are on hand to maintain reasonable wait times.


You can contact MERT to apply for the $5,000 hardship payment at www.mert.com.au or on 1800 023 692.


Eligibility for Covid Disaster Payment while on leave


On 18 July I wrote to the NSW Treasury COVID-19 Policy Coordination unit seeking clarification on eligibility for Covid Disaster Payment while on leave.


Today the Treasury unit responded with information that answers questions being asked by many ETU members and their families.


Covid Disaster Payment will be denied to applicants who have ‘appropriate leave entitlements’


This includes Special Pandemic Leave and employer-providedspecial COVID leave, which might be paid in the public sector and by some other employers.


However there are five categories of leave which are excluded from ‘appropriate leave entitlements:


• Annual leave
• Unpaid leave
• Paid sick and carer’s leave
• Long service leave
• Compassionate leave when your employer has stood you down without pay.


ETU members who have or are taking any of these five categories of leave should be eligible to apply and receive Covid Disaster Payment, if they are stood down during the construction shutdown.


Read full details here.


ETU support and information


All ETU NSW & ACT officials and staff are working to support members throughout the COVID-19 lockdown.


I am meeting daily with industry stakeholders and government. We are developing a detailed plan that can re-open the Sydney construction industry for members to work safely as soon as possible.


We are also actively lobbying the Federal and State Governments for increased financial support for ETU members and their families.


For information and support, please contact your ETU organiser at the contacts below.


Proud to be union


Allen Hicks

Secretary, ETU NSW & ACT


PS Here are your ETU organiser contacts


ETU construction organisers


Fred Barbin fredb@etunsw.com.au 0437 031 840


Stewart Edward stewarte@etunsw.com.au 0419 210 442


Antony Stegic antonyc@etunsw.com.au 0414 877 943


Nick Bligh nickb@etunsw.com.au 0475 284 234


Lawrie Duff lawrenced@etunsw.com.au 0400 749 008


ETU lift industry organiser


Steve Bankes steveb@etunsw.com.au 0414 877 553

Financial support during Greater Sydney construction shutdown

Bruce Fan - Saturday, July 17, 2021

The NSW Government blindsided the construction industry with a 14-day shutdown announced Saturday 17 July.

The ETU Construction and Lifts Team is on hand to provide full information and support to our members throughout this period.

We list below the key financial support that will or may be available to ETU members from today.

To access these payments you will need to establish a myGov account. See this link: https://my.gov.au/LoginServices/main/login?execution=e1s1

COVID Disaster Payment

The first thing I urge every member to do is apply immediately for the NSW Covid Disaster Payment at this link


The COVID Disaster Payment (taxable) provides $600 per week for workers in a NSW COVID hotspot who have lost 20 or more hours of work per week.

Workers who have lost between 8-20 hours per week are eligible for $375 per week.

You can qualify for the COVID Disaster Payment even if you are being paid certain types of leave. Please check eligibility at the link above.

The Payment is available immediately, is available to visa workers, and there is no liquid assets test.

Pandemic Leave Disaster Payment

The Pandemic Leave Disaster Payment covers NSW workers unable to work because they must self-isolate or quarantine, or are caring for someone with COVID-19.

This Payment is a lump sum $1,500 for 14 days and is available to visa workers. Apply at this link


Other government benefits

Depending on your personal circumstances, there may be other Centrelink benefits you can access. Contact Services Australia 180 22 66



A $2,000 Stand Down payment (taxable) is available from MERT to assist with hardship, followed by a second $2,000 payment five weeks later. Access from www.mert.com.au or call 1800 023 692

Workers Compensation

If you test positive for COVID-19 as a direct result of workplace exposure, you may be eligible for workers compensation. Contact your ETU organiser or the ETU etunsw@etunsw.com.au or (02) 9267 4844.

Income Protection

COVID-19 is a covered event under your Chifley Income Protection Policy. Members may be covered if there is an inability to work through sickness and accident as a result of COVID-19. Go to www.chifleyservices.com.au or call 1800 800 002

ETU information & support

For more information and support, please contact your ETU organiser, email etunsw@etunsw.com.au or call (02) 9267 4844.

ETU construction organisers

Fred Barbin fredb@etunsw.com.au 0437 031 840

Stewart Edward stewarte@etunsw.com.au 0419 210 442

Antony Stegic antonyc@etunsw.com.au 0414 877 943

Nick Bligh nickb@etunsw.com.au 0475 284 234

Lawrie Duff lawrenced@etunsw.com.au 0400 749 008

ETU lift industry organiser

Steve Bankes steveb@etunsw.com.au 0414 877 553

The ETU is working with other industry stakeholders towards the goal of getting the construction and lift industries open for members to work safely as soon as possible.

The union is also lobbying for increased government support for workers and families impacted by COVID restrictions.

We will send updates as new information comes to hand.

Proud to be union

Allen Hicks

Secretary, ETU NSW & ACT