Builders push for more industry support
Master Builders Victoria has successfully advocated to the Victorian Government to amend the application process for its Business Costs Assistance Program round four – construction grants ensuring hundreds more building and construction businesses can access the support system.
The scheme provides one-off payments to eligible employing and non-employing businesses in the building and construction sector that were operating in Surf Coast Shire, Geelong, metro Melbourne or Mitchell Shire during recent snap lockdowns.
The grant’s qualifying period relates to the COVID-19 restrictions that were in effect from September 21 to October 4, 2021.
To be eligible, businesses must have incurred direct costs that have not been and will not be partially or fully recovered or otherwise reimbursed because of the building and construction industry shutdown.
One-off grants of $2000 are available for eligible non-employing construction industry businesses.
Based on payroll size, one-off grants of $2800, $5600, or $8400 are available for eligible construction industry businesses.
As part of the eligibility criteria to apply for the Business Costs assistance grant, non-employing businesses were asked to show proof that the business owner holds a WorkSafe Construction Induction Training Card (White Card or ‘ticket’), or interstate equivalent issued by a comparable governing authority in another Australian state or territory.
However, MBV has found that many of its members applying for the grant only held a Red Card. The Red Card is the Victorian Construction Induction Training Card from pre-2008.
Builders starting in the industry after 2008 hold a White Card; however, the Red Card is still acceptable under Occupational Health and Safety Regulations 2017.
With the funding program due to close on 9 November, MBV CEO Rebecca Casson said that the organisation advocated strongly to the Victorian Government for Business Victoria to accept the Red Card to save its members time and money.
The Victorian Government has now agreed to this change.
“Currently, building and construction industry businesses must apply to upgrade to a White Card to access this funding, which is a major time and cost inconvenience,” Ms Casson said.
“The cheapest process is to redo the training, which takes up to eight hours and can cost up to $250, depending on where you do the training.
“MBV is the leading voice in the building and construction industry, and we are therefore pleased that the Victorian Government has listened to us and agreed to amend the criteria for this scheme to allow Red Cards to be accepted.
“With many of our members still struggling financially from the effects of prolonged lockdowns, we encourage all our members to apply for this grant.”