In the wake of the COVID 19 pandemic, the NSW Treasurer Dominic Perottet MP has confirmed that the NSW Government’s infrastructure program will continue.

On 23 March 2020, Mr Perrottet MP issued a letter outlining the NSW Government’s position, a copy of the letter can be found here.

Mr Perrottet MP explains that the NSW Government will remain to act in accordance with the ‘advice of NSW health officials’ for communities to remain safe, as well as maintaining the continuation of the vital building work in a practical and strategic manner. This will allow the industry to remain afloat and functional during this period. In doing this, Mr Perrottet MP expands on the finances that will be expended to provide for the 6-month program. He explains;

“The NSW Government announced a major $2.3 billion Health Boost and Economic Stimulus package to protect the community and help protect jobs in the face of the COVID-19 outbreak over the next six months. This package has two key components: $700 million in extra health funding and $1.6 billion in tax cuts to support jobs.”

Flexibility with contractors

In order to keep projects on schedule, collaboration between contactors and agencies is being urged by NSW Government. Mr Perrottet MP explains;

Our 10-Point Commitment to the Construction Industry sets out the collaborative approach we expect from all parties. The Government’s Construction Leadership Group will monitor developments over the coming months, and Infrastructure NSW will facilitate industry-wide discussions over this period.”

 The NSW Government is strongly encouraging contractors to communicate with their client agencies immediately in the event of any potential issue. This will likely be critical in the NSW Government allowing the infrastructure program to move ahead and in keeping the industry operational at a time when non-essential services are being shut down.

Operational Challenges

 As the measures implemented by NSW Government to reduce the spread of COVID-19 have yet to reach the desired outcome of slowing the pandemic, the question becomes; how long until the NSW Government shuts down the construction industry?.

The press release by Mr Perrottet MP should provide some comfort for those working in, or supplying to, the construction industry, but as the situation remains fluid all businesses should be implementing a backup plan.