26 October / COVID-19

Metro Melbourne Restrictions Easing

Victorian Premier Media Announcements

Please note this is a public announcement – not an announcement from Hutchies

The following announcements have just been made:

In metropolitan Melbourne, from 11:59pm on Tuesday October 27:

> Construction industry: 100% workforce capacity. Site visit limit on specialist contractors removed. Other additional obligations remain in place. 

> All retail will reopen. 

> Restaurants, hotels, cafes and bars will reopen as well.

> In indoor venues, there will be a maximum of 20 people, seated, with 10 people per space subject to density requirements (1 per 4m2).

> In outdoor venues, a maximum of 50 people with one person per two square metres.

> Beauty, personal services and tattooing, provided you can wear a mask, will reopen.

> Outdoor community sport for under 18 and outdoor noncontact sport for adults will recommence as well. 

> The four reasons to leave home will be removed.

> The 25 kilometre travel limit remains in place and the regional metropolitan border remains in place.

> Gatherings will no longer be limited to just two households to can be more than two households but the group cannot exceed 10.

> Weddings will increase to a maximum of 10 people. Funerals will increase to a maximum of 20 mourners.

> For religious gatherings, indoor there will be a maximum of 10 people plus a faith leader. Outdoor there will be a maximum of 20 people plus one faith leader.

In metropolitan Melbourne, from 11:59pm on Sunday November 8:

> 25 kilometre travel limit will lift.

> The metropolitan Melbourne regional border will lift.

> Gyms and fitness studios will open, with a maximum of 20 people per space, one person per 8 square metres.

> Restaurants, hotels, cafes and bars will move to an indoor maximum of 40 with 10 people per space, an outdoor maximum of 70 people with one person every 2 square metres.

> Religious gatherings will allow a maximum of 50 people, plus one faith leader, outdoors; indoors will be 20 people maximum plus one faith leader.

> Funerals: 20 mourners indoors; 50 mourners outdoors.

> Indoor community sport, non-contact sport for under-18 and sports capable of 1.5-metre social distancing can operate.

> Indoor pools will open for up to 20 people.

> Accommodation will reopen.

Other Recent Activities

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28 Nov - 2 Dec / Safety Alert

The Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) has issued warnings for extreme heatwave conditions in areas of southern QLD and northeastern NSW from this Sunday through Tuesday. 

Sydney and areas of NSW, NT and QLD are also currently experiencing low-intensity to severe heatwave conditions today, which are expected to continue over the coming days. 

The below linked BOM maps illustrate the areas expected to reach high temperatures today through Wednesday.

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3 December / Meetings

Hutchies' monthly budgets are held on the first Thursday of every month in Brisbane and via Skype sessions to the regions.

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20 November / Legislation Alert

Changes to Queensland’s Biosecurity Regulation 2016 for fire ants came into effect on Wednesday, 27 May 2020.

These changes provide extra protection to areas that have undergone the National Red Imported Fire Ant Eradication Program's eradication activities, and reduce the chance of the pest spreading by the movement of infested material such as soil, gravel, mulch and hay.

The key changes are:

1.   2 fire ant biosecurity zones instead of 3 (zones include new suburb areas where fire ants have been found previously)

2.   new soil movement guideline clarifies how you can meet your general biosecurity obligation (GBO) when working with soil updated risk mitigation strategies to guide you when working with material that may carry fire ants (may reduce the need to apply for a biosecurity instrument permit).

Soil & Transport in Biosecurity Zones

Soil from fire ant biosecurity zones is considered high risk for the spread of fire ants.

Under the Biosecurity Act 2014 everyone has a general biosecurity obligation (GBO) to take all reasonable steps to ensure they do not spread fire ants.

The Biosecurity Regulation 2016 prescribes procedures that you must follow when moving soil from a fire ant biosecurity zone. There are 2 fire ant biosecurity zones in Queensland. Refer to the fire ant biosecurity zone maps to see the boundaries of these zones or the Queensland Government’s interactive map to check if you're in a fire ant biosecurity zone.

Moving soil

To move soil from either of the fire ant biosecurity zones to a place outside the zones, you must request a biosecurity instrument permit (BIP) online or phone 13 25 23.

Refer to the table below for restrictions on the movement of soil between and outside of the fire ant biosecurity zones.

Biosecurity zone 1

Biosecurity zone 2

Soil originating from a place in zone 1 can be moved to a place in zone 1 or zone 2 without a biosecurity instrument permit (BIP).

Soil can be moved from its original place in zone 1 directly to a waste facility within either zone 1 or zone 2 without a BIP.

Soil originating from a place in zone 2 can be moved within zone 2 without a biosecurity instrument permit (BIP).

You need to obtain a BIP before moving the soil to a place within zone 1.

Soil can be moved from its original place in zone 2 directly to a waste facility in zone 2. You'll need a BIP to move the soil to a waste facility within zone 1.

Download Permit

Managing soil

The Biosecurity Regulation 2016 and the Soil movement guideline outlines how soil should be managed in fire ant biosecurity zones.

If you are moving soil within the fire ant biosecurity zones, you should do 1 or more of the following:

  1. treat soil before excavation
  2. take soil from depth
  3. disturb soil during or after excavation
  4. store soil appropriately.

Treating soil before excavation

Business operators should engage a licensed pest manager 2 weeks before the anticipated excavation date to:

  1. inspect the area to be excavated. If fire ants are found, report them
  2. undertake direct nest injection (DNI) of any fire ant nests
  3. treat the site with an appropriate bait in order to prevent fire ants becoming established in the area to be excavated.

At a residential property, you can pre-treat an area that is to be excavated using a household pesticide that is available in a retail store. The products used should be recognised by the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA) as an appropriate product for treating fire ants.

Use insecticides in accordance with the conditions of the APVMA permit, the Safety Data Sheet (SDS) and in conjunction with the product's label. You can search for permits on the APVMA website.

Taking soil from depth

A newly established, or young, fire ant colony is often located in the first metre of soil. You could reduce ant activity and the risk of ant movement to another location by taking the following steps.

  1. Remove the top metre of soil.
  2. Do the necessary excavation.
  3. Replace the original top metre of soil.

Do not mix the top metre of soil with the soil being moved from the site. Keep the top metre on site, or take it to a waste facility within the fire ant biosecurity zones (restrictions apply, see table above).

This method is not recommended for areas where the soil type is soft, loamy or sandy, as fire ant nests can extend further than 1 metre below the surface in areas in these soil types.

Disturbing the soil during or after excavation

Soil that is to be taken off-site should be disturbed before it is moved to another location. Disturbing soil means undertaking 1 or a combination of the following activities:

  1. vigorously turning
  2. crushing
  3. washing
  4. screening a soil stockpile.

Storage of soil

If the soil will be stored on the property for more than 24 hours, you should use 1 of the following storage options:

  1. off-ground and covered (e.g. in a shed, under a shade cloth or tarpaulin); or
  2. on-ground, and covered, on 1 of the following surfaces:
    1. concrete or bitumen (no cracks)
    2. a barrier that cannot be penetrated by fire ants (e.g. 200 micron unperforated plastic sheeting)
    3. compacted ground (other than sand) that has been treated with an appropriate chemical product before storage.

Apply a 30cm-wide strip of insecticide containing 80g/L bifenthrin, around the perimeter of the on-ground storage area. If soil is stored on compacted ground, you should also treat the whole surface area.

Keep the treated area free of material that could form an untreated bridge to the soil.

For an insecticide registered as a horizontal or perimeter barrier for fire ants, refer to Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA) permit PER14317 (expires 31 December 2021).

Stockpiles of soil should be disturbed:

  1. every 21 days; and
  2. 24 hours prior to moving the material to another location


Applying for a permit

You can request a biosecurity instrument permit (BIP) online or by phoning the National Red Imported Fire Ant Eradication Program on 13 25 23.

Each BIP application is assessed on its own merits and can be refused if the movement poses an unacceptable risk of spreading fire ants.

Apply now

Keeping a record

You should keep a written record of the steps you take to ensure the soil is inspected, stored and moved correctly, including chemical treatments and / or disturbance activities. This may include:

1.   dated, written records of the measures you've taken to reduce risk and the details of where the soil has been taken from or to

2.   photographs, site plans and surveyor's records

3.   receipts and records of treatment applied by a licensed pest manager.

Keep these records for a minimum of 2 years.

Program inspectors, who conduct random compliance checks to ensure businesses and individuals are complying with fire ant movement controls, will request these records.

Penalties for not complying with movement controls apply under the Act and other relevant legislation.

More information

If you need additional support, please contact: 

Tivian Trinh
Phone 0427 246 134
Email tivian.trinh@hutchies.com.au

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19 November / COVID-19

Reminder to be vigilant

In light of the latest coronavirus cluster that has developed in South Australia, this update is a reminder to everyone to remain vigilant and not become complacent in the fight against COVID-19.

We must continue to listen to the health advice in each State and maintain the various measures we have put in place to help keep everyone safe and prevent the spread of the virus.

From midnight last night, South Australia starts a 6-day lockdown period. This includes the closure of the local construction industry. These new restrictions are the result of an outbreak in the state where they hadn’t seen any cases of community transmission for seven months.

Each person’s individual effort contributes to keeping case numbers low, particularly given that outbreaks are likely to continue in Australia until a vaccine is available.

Part of our collective responsibility is ensuring that we each recognise coronavirus symptoms and get tested if we experience any of these (listed below). 

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22 November / Observation

22 November is the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, also known as White Ribbon Day.

White Ribbon Australia is a part of a global movement of men and boys working to end men’s violence against women. The aim is to create an Australian society where all women can live in safety, free from violence and abuse. #WhiteRibbonDay

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10 November / COVID-19

QLD Border Pass System Changes

Information from the Queensland Government

From Tuesday 10 October:

The Queensland Government has announced imminent changes to the online QLD border pass declaration system.

These changes are due to be implemented from today, however they have not yet been put in place at the time of sending this update. Keep an eye on the official website for more information.  

If you don’t already have one and require a border pass for travel into Queensland within the next few days, you should apply as soon as possible using the current system. These passes will continue to be accepted even after the new system is live, provided they have not expired.

Please feel free to send this update on to anyone it may be relevant to. It will also be published on the Toolbox for reference.

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6 November / COVID-19

Travel Restrictions

Guide for Hutchies’ People Intending to Travel

Hutchies’ company-wide restriction on all interstate travel in place since July has now been revised. This update is intended to detail Hutchies’ expectations around travel moving forward. As indicated by Greg Quinn in his email to all company members on October 30, Hutchies will continue to review the situation and send a further update after our Christmas shutdown period. 

State and Territory governments have now either opened borders to other states, or are intending to do so shortly. An overview of current border status is provided below. 

Hutchies’ general position has not changed. We must remain cautious, and continue to employ the measures Hutchies and other Constructors have put in place since the start of the pandemic.

We are also introducing some additional measures relating to travel to ensure that Hutchies’ people and workplaces are kept as safe as possible as border arrangements change. Read on for more information. 

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11 November / Observation

On 11 November 1918, the guns of the Western Front fell silent after four years of continuous warfare. With their armies retreating and close to collapse, German leaders signed an Armistice, bringing to an end the First World War. From the summer of 1918, the five divisions of the Australian Corps had been at the forefront of the allied advance to victory. Beginning with their stunning success at the battle of Hamel in July, they helped to turn the tide of the war at Amiens in August, followed by the capture of Mont St Quentin and Pèronne, and the breaching of German defences at the Hindenburg Line in September. By early October the exhausted Australians were withdrawn from battle. They had achieved a fighting reputation out of proportion to their numbers, but victory had come at a heavy cost. They suffered almost 48,000 casualties during 1918, including more than 12,000 dead.

In the four years of the war more than 330,000 Australians had served overseas, and more than 60,000 of them had died. The social effects of these losses cast a long shadow over the postwar decades.

Each year on this day Australians observe one minute’s silence at 11am, in memory of those who died or suffered in all wars and armed conflicts.

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2 - 16 November / Observation

National Recycling Week runs from 9 November 2020 through to 16 November 2020.

In November 1996, Planet Ark founded National Recycling Week to bring a national focus to the environmental benefits of recycling. This established and highly regarded annual campaign continues to educate and stimulate behaviour change, by promoting kerbside, industrial and community recycling initiatives.

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