Victoria considers vaccine mandate for construction workers

The Victorian government is reportedly considering making COVID-19 jabs mandatory for construction workers in a bid to reduce transmission of the virus at worksites.

The building industry was flagged as one of the main sources of COVID-19 hotspots in Victoria by Treasurer and Industrial Relations Minister Tim Pallas and a four-week compliance blitz targeting the sector was announced.

"This industry is in a very, very precarious position," Mr Pallas said.

READ MORE: Victoria launches construction compliance blitz

A construction site in Melbourne.

"The construction industry is young, it is mobile as a workforce. They often visit multiple sites in any given week and they return home to all areas of metropolitan Melbourne."

He said the average construction worker who had caught COVID-19 lived about 20 kilometres from the construction site where they caught the virus, leading to widespread transmission.

The government is set to release 20,000 priority Pfizer appointments to construction workers over the next week and unlimited access to AstraZeneca.

Senior government and industry sources told The Age the government is also discussing mandating vaccinations for construction workers, a move which could come into effect as early as next week.

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If the mandate goes ahead Victoria will become the first state to make vaccines compulsory for the construction industry.

However, mandating vaccines is likely to be opposed by unions who have advocated for workers to be given the choice.

Victoria's COVID-19 cases surged again yesterday with 473 new local infections recorded and 200 linked to known outbreaks.

More than 49,000 test results were received and 30,000 vaccine doses were administered.

A total of 66.9 per cent of the eligible Victorian population over the age of 16 have had their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.

There are now 3507 active cases in the state, with 157 in hospital including 38 in intensive care.

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