A compliance blitz has been launched across Victoria's construction industry, with the government putting the sector on notice it could lose its authorised worker status during COVID-19 lockdowns.
Treasurer Tim Pallas announced the four-week enforcement blitz on Monday, saying the construction industry stood at a "critical juncture".
"Construction remains one of the few industries that are still operating. We're seeing increasing case numbers coming out of that industry linked to this workforce," he told reporters.
"What's become clear to us is that the construction industry remains a major source of transmission."
Mr Pallas said he spoke with industry leaders as recently as Sunday night to convey the sector was in a "precarious position", and the time for warnings and admonishment was over.
IN OTHER NEWS
"We'll do everything we can to ensure the construction industry can continue in a COVID-safe way," he said.
"But the entire industry - employers, unions - are on notice. We've had significant transmission on building sites and we simply cannot afford not to act if that continues to grow."
Of particular concern to Victorian authorities is the geographic spread of construction-linked cases.
"The average construction worker, the outbreak case, lives basically about 20km away from the original outbreak site, compared to ... 4km on average for outbreaks connected to for example supermarkets," Mr Pallas said.
The treasurer added the industry's young and mobile workforce often visited multiple sites a week, making it a high-risk environment for transmission.
In concert with the compliance blitz, four major Victorian vaccination centres will allow construction workers to get a jab without a booking from Monday until September 26.
A further 20,000 further priority Pfizer appointments will also be made available to construction workers at all state-run hubs, except for drive- through sites.
If you are seeing this message you are a loyal digital subscriber to The Courier, as we made this story available only to subscribers. Thank you very much for your support and allowing us to continue telling Ballarat's story. We appreciate your support of journalism in our great city.