Wimmera builders roll up their sleeves to fight COVID-19

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CONSTRUCTION workers must have at least their first vaccination dose by September 23. The sites are now closed for two weeks for metropolitan Melbourne, the City of Ballarat, the City of Greater Geelong, Surf Coast Shire and Mitchell Shire. This closure was announced on Monday, September 20. Brenmark Building director Ben Gibson said the vaccination mandate made sense. “I personally don’t have a problem with it,” he said. “We can’t send out kids to school or playgroup without vaccination. “Making it mandatory to be on site with a vaccination, I don’t see the issue.” IN OTHER NEWS: Mr Gibson said he and his crew had no problem getting their vaccinations. “Everyone who works with me has their first at least,” he said. “Everything has been really seamless.” Mr Gibson said the restrictions in metro and Ballarat had not impacted them, nor has the limits on numbers. “We only have small numbers on site,” he said. “If we had more on site and had to sit separate when eating lunch it’s not the end of the world.” Mr Gibson said the building industry had had a “dream run” compared to the other industries. “It kept us going pretty well, we should be grateful for what has been achieved for us with COVID-19 and run with it,” he said. Managing director for CHS Group, Tim Hopper, said they have been out of construction sites in areas like Ballarat for a while, well before the restriction was announced but horrified by Spring Street protests. “We were well and truly out of those areas and we won’t be back for quite a while,” he said. “What they are doing down in Spring Street in disgusting. It’s an indictment on our industries and very sad.” Mr Hopper said 90 per cent of staff had had their first vaccination shot and was pleased when he heard the mandate. “I’m in favour of getting direction,” he said. “People aren’t umming and ahhing about what they can or cannot do, but now this is what will happen.” Mr Hopper said they would have documents and proof on file for all staff and have found getting the vaccination booked in has not been an issue. “We’ve had a fantastic response from UpTempo Café and Wimmera Health Care Group, offering construction workers vaccinations,” he said. “I’m not aware of anyone having any issues.” READ MORE: TKL Construction director Trevor Larkin said restrictions would not impact his team as most of its work is in Halls Gap or Stawell. Mr Larkin said he is fully vaccinated, with his team booked in, and they also had no issues getting their vaccinations either. “I think it’s a very good idea,” he said. “Our apprentice is getting his on Tuesday and we’re waiting for an appointment for the other person.” Mr Larkin said he didn’t have any issue with the current set-up. “It’s workable,” he said. Brenmark Building director Mr Gibson said what will happen next in the industry is up to the individuals. “It’s up to the individual workers and builders and whether they want to toe the line,” he said. “It seems 50 per cent of them don’t want to comply and it will be to the detriment of the industry if they continue.” If you can see this message, you are a loyal digital subscriber to The Stawell Times-News, as we made this story available only to subscribers. Thank you very much for your support and for allowing us to continue telling Stawell’s story. We appreciate your support of journalism in our great town.

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CONSTRUCTION workers must have at least their first vaccination dose by September 23.

The sites are now closed for two weeks for metropolitan Melbourne, the City of Ballarat, the City of Greater Geelong, Surf Coast Shire and Mitchell Shire.

This closure was announced on Monday, September 20.

Brenmark Building director Ben Gibson said the vaccination mandate made sense.

“I personally don’t have a problem with it,” he said.

“We can’t send out kids to school or playgroup without vaccination.

“Making it mandatory to be on site with a vaccination, I don’t see the issue.”

Mr Gibson said he and his crew had no problem getting their vaccinations.

“Everyone who works with me has their first at least,” he said.

“Everything has been really seamless.”

Mr Gibson said the restrictions in metro and Ballarat had not impacted them, nor has the limits on numbers.

“We only have small numbers on site,” he said.

“If we had more on site and had to sit separate when eating lunch it’s not the end of the world.”

Mr Gibson said the building industry had had a “dream run” compared to the other industries.

“It kept us going pretty well, we should be grateful for what has been achieved for us with COVID-19 and run with it,” he said.

Managing director for CHS Group, Tim Hopper, said they have been out of construction sites in areas like Ballarat for a while, well before the restriction was announced but horrified by Spring Street protests.

“We were well and truly out of those areas and we won’t be back for quite a while,” he said.

“What they are doing down in Spring Street in disgusting. It’s an indictment on our industries and very sad.”

Mr Hopper said 90 per cent of staff had had their first vaccination shot and was pleased when he heard the mandate.

“I’m in favour of getting direction,” he said.

“People aren’t umming and ahhing about what they can or cannot do, but now this is what will happen.”

Mr Hopper said they would have documents and proof on file for all staff and have found getting the vaccination booked in has not been an issue.

“We’ve had a fantastic response from UpTempo Café and Wimmera Health Care Group, offering construction workers vaccinations,” he said.

“I’m not aware of anyone having any issues.”

TKL Construction director Trevor Larkin said restrictions would not impact his team as most of its work is in Halls Gap or Stawell.

Mr Larkin said he is fully vaccinated, with his team booked in, and they also had no issues getting their vaccinations either.

“I think it’s a very good idea,” he said.

“Our apprentice is getting his on Tuesday and we’re waiting for an appointment for the other person.”

Mr Larkin said he didn’t have any issue with the current set-up.

“It’s workable,” he said.

Brenmark Building director Mr Gibson said what will happen next in the industry is up to the individuals.

“It’s up to the individual workers and builders and whether they want to toe the line,” he said.

“It seems 50 per cent of them don’t want to comply and it will be to the detriment of the industry if they continue.”

If you can see this message, you are a loyal digital subscriber to The Stawell Times-News, as we made this story available only to subscribers. Thank you very much for your support and for allowing us to continue telling Stawell’s story. We appreciate your support of journalism in our great town.

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