1 May 2020 / COVID-19

National Cabinet Meeting

The PM just addressed the media:

  • There is more than one curve Australia needs to flatten – they don’t want Australia kept “under the doona” in economic terms
  • Australia has 1,000 active cases around the country today
  • Treasury is estimating unemployment rate to rise to 10% - its important that Australians can take confidence that there has been a clear plan to get those supports in place early to ensure that Australia can be cushioned from an even more significant blow that has occurred in many other parts of the world, not just on the health front, but on the economic front as well
  • 1.5 million people have applied for JobSeeker payments with Centrelink
  • 650,000 businesses have applied for JobKeeper with ATO
  • 150,000 applications for early access to super totalling $7.9 billion
  • Net overseas migration expected to fall by a third this year
  • National Cabinet today considered from the expert medical panel advice to bring forward the decision making around easing restrictions to next Friday’s National Cabinet Meeting (with 2 extra meetings between now and then to work through requirements) – there are 15 conditions of precedent required to be satisfied to start easing them, 11 items have already been met, 1 remaining condition in particular that needs to be satisfied – Australians need to download the COVIDSafe app to help (currently 3.5 million downloaded, but need millions more – its like not putting on sunscreen to not go out into the blazing sun – coronavirus is still out there, numbers might be low, if Australians are allowed back out to a more open economy / environment without the COVIDSafe app, we need that tool to open up the economy)
  • If you know someone who hasn’t downloaded the app, encourage them to do so, it will help National Cabinet make decisions around easing restrictions
  • When the move is made to start reducing restrictions, National Cabinet is adamant to keep moving forward – they don’t want start / stop / reverse to happen (because the virus potentially gets another run – it is important that all required protections are in place to prevent this from happening)
  • Other National Cabinet decisions and issues discussed today:
    • The new National Mental Health Plan coming together and hopefully reviewed next Friday
    • National Principles for sport and recreation agreed, it will be released today
    • Also adopted the Aged Care Code – strongly welcomed by the National Cabinet – the Commonwealth will also provide a one off $205M payment to facilities over the country to support them and costs they are incurring as a result of COVID (now totalling $850M put into aged care during COVID)

The Chief Medical Officer’s comments:

  • Total of 6,675 cumulative cases so far in Australia
  • Less than 20 new cases on average per day in Australia
  • 93 deaths so far
  • Extensive testing – 570,000 so far
  • The medical panel has presented the Pandemic Health Intelligence Plan to National Cabinet (which contains a table of conditions precedent) – some areas of criteria that has / still needs to be satisfied is:
    • Surveillance – have a plan, sufficient mechanisms (tracking and identification of outbreaks)
    • Community adherence to public health measures (people are doing what they have said, reducing their mobility and interactions as required)
    • Modelling – prerequisite and important – regularly changing
    • Testing capacity – expansion of testing is important and we have a framework for testing
    • Public health workforce has to be mature and large enough to meet any response (all States / Territories have done well to respond to the situation so much so that they’ve now been able to stand down some expanded workforce for if / when they are needed)
    • Contact tracing capacity had to be really good and is proving to be working with the new methodology – but the COVIDSafe app uptake must continue (it needs to be higher to satisfy the final piece in the jigsaw puzzle)
    • Good health workforce training to prepare the health system and they’re confident this has been done
  • New presentation of data and plans shown (will circulate when released)
  • Pretty convincedly the curve has been flattened
  • Australia is doing better with new case numbers than predicted by the forecast model
  • Effective reproduction rate number is now only really visible in NSW and TAS – falling just below 1 (all other states and territories are so small, the modellers cannot use the data realistically to produce a forecast)
  • New measure for adherence to social distancing measures based on data from Apple and Google using maps / transit info (dramatically dropped – showing good compliance of people following rules)
  • The panel has now introduced the ‘Pandemic Health Intelligence Plan’ to analyse each case (instead of trying to work with the effective reproduction rate which is now too small to use) – thanks to the significant reduction in cases – this new plan now enables each cluster to get a detailed epidemiology assessment on what is happening more closely to see what we need to do control
  • Done a lot of work on the testing strategy – they need to test more people to stay on top of the small outbreaks – cannot afford to have an outbreak that takes off and creates a second wave after restrictions potentially eased
  • Most important thing in testing is anyone who has any respiratory symptoms, runny nose, sore throat, cough cold etc – get tested – it’s easy – can be done by GP etc – don’t go to work and don’t go near vulnerable people
  • Any contact with someone with COVID is now going to be tested and chased down to ensure no potential community transmission
  • Active surveillance – which was the testing of asymptomatic people in the community – given the current, very low positivity in testing, AHPPC doesn’t this this is effective
  • Instead, they are going to introduce “cohort tests” to sample smaller areas of the community to ensure there isn’t asymptomatic transmission (ie testing elective surgery patients etc to ensure no people going into hospitals etc spread it, aged care workers to reassure everyone they aren’t carrying the virus, healthcare workers, teachers if it gives them reassurance etc)
  • Still confident most transmission of the virus is from people with symptoms, so it is imperative anyone with symptoms gets tested
  • Download the app and stick to what the health authorities and government are asking everyone to do

Further PM comments during questions:

  • The Gov’t is not canvassing any particular easing of areas yet – National Cabinet will review all restrictions to ensure health mitigations are in place if reopened and economic opportunities that extent to particular activities – that’s the basis on which the assessment will be made
  • Regardless of the potential easing of restrictions, several other measures will remain for longer – there will continue to be limits on gatherings, social distancing must still be practiced (this is a long-term adjustment everyone has to make) and good hand hygiene will remain something everyone will do for the rest of their lives after this crisis
  • The government knows we need growth related policies to stimulate the economy and boost confidence for businesses and individuals
  • The Gov’t isn’t considering new restrictions – its about getting more people using the COVIDSafe app so there is confidence to relieve existing restrictions

Other Recent Activities

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27 January / Update

Hutchies' Subcontractor HSE Requirements document is a summary of safety expectations for all of Hutchies' projects. 

The Subcontractor HSE Requirements is referenced in all subcontract agreements (Annexure E) and is used in conjunction with local legislated requirements and Hutchies' Safety Management System.

To accurately reflect our current HSE requirements, this document has been updated to include:

  • The use of HammerTech on all projects
  • Incident notifications and investigations
  • Rehabilitation and return to work 
  • Plant and equipment maintenance 
  • Minimum Licencing Requirements 

Prior to commencing on site all subcontractors shall be provided access to the following WHS documentation via our Subbies Toolbox:

  • WHS Management Plan
  • Project Risk Assessment
  • Site Rules 

Action

HammerTech

The document has been uploaded to all HammerTech welcome emails and will be automatically attached to the welcome email which you need to send to each new Subcontractor as they are onboarded into HammerTech.

Project Teams

  1. Add subcontractors to HammerTech in advance of their commencement and then send HammerTech's 'welcome email'
  2. Update any team specific process or project specific Subcontractor HSE documentation to reflect this latest content

Future updates of this document will be automatically attached to HammerTech's 'welcome email'

Hutchies' Subbie HSE Requirements

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24 January / Notice

Overview

With ongoing insurance changes throughout the market, the most recent insurance policy requires all Hutchies' sites to demonstrate that they have considered the risk & impact of weather and flooding on the site. This extends to stored materials, temporary accommodation and other temporary and permanent works. All project teams are required to implement a sensible strategy to minimise this risk with a documented plan that considers:

  • the methodology & sequence of works
  • reliance on & interface between temporary and permanent works
  • the site location & monitoring of weather conditions for the area as a part of daily site management

In the event of a claim, the Project Manager for the site will need to demonstrate there was planning in place that was implemented by the Site Manager, Supervisors and Subcontractors as required. 

The insurance requirements are noted in the below ‘Insurance Guidelines' and there is a Hutchified checklist below as well to assist in guiding you through the process. 

Please also note the previous alert on protection of people and property. 

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21 January / COVID-19

The Industry Working Group has moved to Phase 4 – 'Living with COVID' – and has updated the Queensland Construction & Related Industries COVID Safe Plan to reflect this. This latest version also incorporates current Queensland Health requirements and some minor refinements to clarify existing procedures.

Hutchies' teams working in Queensland must read the below, implement the changes and circulate the latest copies of the COVID Safe Plan for Phase 4 and Managing Positive Cases & Close / Casual Contacts Update to all Workers / Subcontractors / Suppliers as a priority. This enables everyone to be on the same page with how positive cases and close contacts are managed on construction sites in Queensland.

The Queensland Construction Industry Working Group will continue to meet and will also consult with Queensland Health as the COVID-19 environment evolves. The Industry Plan will be reviewed and amended as Government Directions are updated, and guidance materials are released.

It is important to remember that anyone you interact with at the moment could have coronavirus and everyone should be extra vigilant with COVID safe measures to keep each other safe. You should monitor for symptoms – if any develop, stay home and get tested.

If you are unsure about anything, need to report a positive case / close contact, or have questions about COVID-19, please contact Hutchies' Coronavirus Team.

What's in this update

> Version 2 of the Industry COVID Safe Plan for Phase 4
> Version 3 of the Managing Positive Cases & Contacts Update
> Reporting & managing cases
> Timelines for Positive Case & Close Contact Requirements
> Clarification on Close Contact Isolation Period

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17 January / New

Hutchies' meetings and key dates calendar for the year ahead is now available in Outlook and printable PDF.

Add Outlook Calendar

> Open Outlook

> Click 'calendar icon' in bottom left corner

> Click ‘Add Calendar’ button in top ribbon

> Select ‘Open Shared Calendar

> Type in ‘Hutchies Company Calendar’

> It will open and save in Shared Calendars

Watch Video

Downloadable PDF

We also maintain a printable A3 PDF of Hutchies' key meetings calendar. You can download, print and have this version in hard copy. Please note that sometimes dates do change, so be sure to regularly check that you have the latest copy.

Download PDF

Updates

Hutchies' Outlook calendar enables real-time updating of events in a format everyone is familiar with. We specifically only include events in this calendar that are relevant to all of Hutchies nationally to avoid overloading it with irrelevant information.

Annual updates are made for the year ahead roughly in October / November for:

> Company meetings (budgets, board meetings etc) by Natalie Roma to assist the regions in their local calendar planning

> Payment cutoff dates for middle and end of month runs by AP

> Public holidays / social events / observations by the Comms Team If there is an event applicable to all of Hutchies that you think should be included in the company calendar, please let us know.

Other Formats

Previously we published some key dates on Toolbox and through the Meetings for the Year PDF (published on the Doc Library).

Toolbox continues to be used to publish key updates through our Activities area, while the Meetings for the Year is a summary of the key meetings proposed for the years (ie doesn't have as much detail as our Outlook version).

Hutchies’ Toolbox Activities will remain your central go to point for all key company announcements / alerts.



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12 January / COVID-19

As the potential for exposure to COVID-19 in the community increases, the Queensland Construction Industry Working Group has developed a guidance document for leave entitlements and potential financial support. Hutchies has adopted this industry led approach, along with many other major builders in Queensland.

This advice is specifically for Hutchies’ direct company members who may be required to stay home either due to having COVID-19 or because they have been deemed a close / household contact. Other businesses, such as subcontractors, may also adopt the document however how they choose to manage their own staff entitlements in accordance with their own industrial instruments is a matter for them to decide.

The guidance document contains information about Pandemic Leave, however please note that this type of leave may not be relevant to all company members as it is only applicable to employees covered by particular Awards. In circumstances where Pandemic Leave does not apply, it would be replaced with Leave Without Pay. Both types of leave are unpaid however when on Pandemic Leave, the employee continues to accrue service / leave entitlements.

As cases continue to escalate throughout Queensland, it is important to remember that anyone you interact with could have COVID-19 and everyone should be extra vigilant with COVID safe measures. You should monitor for symptoms – if any develop, stay home and get tested.

If you are unsure about anything, need to report a positive case / close contact, or have questions about COVID-19, please contact Hutchies' Coronavirus Team.

If you have questions specifically about leave entitlements, please contact Hutchies' Payroll Team.

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10 - 21 January / COVID-19

Government advice at all levels is changing rapidly. Hutchies will continue to communicate the latest relevant requirements to you as soon as information becomes available. 

Hutchies' teams working in Queensland must read the below, implement the changes and circulate the latest Industry Update with all Workers / Subcontractors / Suppliers as a priority. This enables everyone to be on the same page with how positive cases and close contacts are being managed on construction sites in Queensland.

Other states and territories have slightly different requirements but with the same principles, and these are being communicated separately to those relevant teams.

The processes outlined in this email are based on the latest advice as adopted by the Queensland Construction Industry Working Group and following direct advice and support from Queensland Health. The Industry Plan will continue to be updated as Government Directions are updated and guidance materials are released.

As cases continue to escalate throughout Queensland, it is important to remember that anyone you interact with could have COVID-19 and everyone should be extra vigilant with COVID safe measures. You should monitor for symptoms – if any develop, stay home and get tested.

If you are unsure about anything, need to report a positive case / close contact, or have questions about COVID-19, please contact Hutchies' Coronavirus Team.

Key changes

> Version 2 of the Industry Process for Managing Positive Cases
> Reporting all cases to Hutchies' Coronavirus Team
> Managing Positive Cases & Notification Templates
> Circulating the Industry Update to Workers / Subbies / Suppliers

What's in this update

> Latest Industry Update (Managing Positive Cases & Contacts)
> Reporting & managing cases
> Time and cost clauses in contracts (for COVID-19)

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9 January / COVID-19

Government advice at all levels is changing rapidly. Hutchies will continue to communicate the latest relevant requirements to you as soon as information becomes available.

Hutchies' teams working in New South Wales must read the below, implement the changes and circulate the latest Industry Update with all Workers / Subcontractors / Suppliers as a priority. This enables everyone to be on the same page with how positive cases and close contacts are being managed on construction sites in New South Wales.

Other states and territories have slightly different requirements but with the same principles, and these are being communicated separately to those relevant teams.

The processes outlined in this email are based on updated advice since our email on Friday as adopted by the NSW Construction Industry Working Group and following direct advice and support from the NSW Government.

As cases continue to escalate throughout New South Wales, it is important to remember that anyone you interact with could have COVID-19 and everyone should be extra vigilant with COVID safe measures. You should monitor for symptoms – if any develop, stay home and get tested.

If you are unsure about anything, need to report a positive case / close contact, or have questions about COVID-19, please contact Hutchies' Coronavirus Team.

Key changes

> Version 2 of the Industry Process for Managing Positive Cases
> Reporting all cases to Hutchies' Coronavirus Team
> Managing Positive Cases & Notification Templates
> Circulating the Industry Update to Workers / Subbies / Suppliers

What's in this update

> Latest Industry Update (Managing Positive Cases & Contacts)
> Reporting & managing cases
> Time and cost clauses in contracts (for COVID-19)

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7 - 9 January / COVID-19

National Cabinet has agreed to a unified approach to managing contacts of a confirmed positive case of COVID-19. This includes a new definition for close contacts. It currently applies to NSW, QLD, VIC, TAS, SA, ACT and will eventually be adopted by WA and NT.

The changes simplify the circumstances when a person is classified as a ‘close contact’. They also minimise the need for isolation and testing for anyone else potentially exposed to COVID-19 – that is those contacts that have been previously referred to as casual contacts. This update summarises the new requirements and how they will be applied in the construction industry in New South Wales.

The Update below has been developed by an Industry Working Group that includes the CFMEU, PTEU, ETU, MBA and a large number of principal contractors in NSW. It has also been provided to NSW Health and WorkSafe.

This advice is effective immediately and will be implemented across the New South Wales Construction Industry from 7 January 2022 (today). 

Hutchies' teams delivering projects in New South Wales must download and read this latest industry advice and be ready to implement it when managing positive cases on any of our construction sites or in our offices.

A further update will be distributed shortly concerning other states however given the national approach to close and casual contacts, the general principles will be consistent.

Contact the Coronavirus Team if you have any questions or need more information about the current status of COVID-19 in New South Wales.

This important update includes the latest advice for construction on:

> New Definitions & Requirements

Changes for confirmed positive cases and new definitions of close contacts

> Managing a Positive Case

Step by step process for construction sites or offices to manage positive cases

> Contact Tracing

Ensuring Workers continue to check in so they can be promptly notified of a positive case

> Masks

Requirements for mask wearing in Queensland

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7 January / Notice

PBAs are changing and expanding to cover eligible private sector projects in Queensland.

The Queensland Government introduced a trial of Project Bank Accounts (PBAs) in 2018 as part of the Building Industry Fairness (Security of Payment) Act 2017 legislation. Initially they applied only to State Government funded projects valued between $1M and $10M.

The system is designed to hold funds in trust for head contractors and subcontractors until payments are due, as part of a building project. The PTA's structure and strict rules help subcontractors get paid regularly in a timely manner and protect their retention and disputed monies.

Following trials of PBAs, Queensland has now expanded the concept through Project Trust Accounts (PTAs) which applies to private sector, local government, statutory authorities' and government-owned corporations' building and construction contracts valued over $10M.

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