Construction work given weekend green light
Construction sites have been given special permission to operate across weekends and public holidays under new rules to bolster the industry through the pandemic crisis.
The new rules will allow construction operations to space their work out across more days to allow more social distancing. In other cases, the extended hours will simply allow more work to occur and more people to be hired.
It can be revealed Planning Minister Rob Stokes has authorised the extended hours industry-wide under special powers granted to him during the pandemic.
The move is intended to boost the construction and development sectors - which make up almost 10 per cent of NSW's economy and will keep jobs and investment flowing while other sectors struggle.
"We're doing what we can to support the industry in line with the current medical advice by extending weekday construction site operating hours to weekends and public holidays," Mr Stokes told The Daily Telegraph.
"The extended hours allow the industry to facilitate social distancing on construction sites, while minimising the potential for lost productivity during the pandemic."
There are 400,000 people employed in the property and construction industries in NSW.
"We are committed to doing everyone we can to keep each and every one of them in work - but most importantly to keep them safe and healthy."
Mr Stokes was given special powers on March 24 to override normal planning controls during the pandemic to ensure health, safety and welfare of communities.
He has also allowed supermarkets and pharmacies to trade 24/7 if they choose.
Compliance with these orders will be monitored and reviewed if there are any adverse impacts on the community, a government statement said.
Mikeilee Constructions carpentry apprentice Shea Davies welcomed the move to keep construction sites open seven days a week and said he was "always up" for more work.
"Personally I enjoy working, it gets me out of the house. If there's an opportunity to work seven days a week, I'm keen for it," Mr Davies said.
"It's nice to still have something to do when a significant amount of people don't have jobs. I'm more grateful (for my job), and (spacing out work hours) makes sense to adhere to distancing guidelines."
More work hours as a result of increased construction site operations would help third-year apprentice Mr Davies, 23, save up for "future expenses".
"I'm trying to save as much as I can mostly for future expenses like getting my own house or for investment. This change could help me get myself in good spot," he said.
Originally published as Construction work given weekend green light