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

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9 September / Observation

A conversation could change a life.

Today is a reminder of the importance to check in on each other and ask R U OK?

Each of us have experienced the COVID-19 pandemic differently, but it has had an impact on us all. Some of us have been unexpectedly caught behind interstate travel bans, some in extended lockdowns, some living in hotspots, some at home with their families and some away from them.

It has been a challenge for each of us to adjust to new rules and restrictions which we have never had to deal with before.

We have all adapted in our own way to help ourselves and others. We have all done our best despite much of what we knew before having changed in so many ways.

For anyone struggling, know that there are genuine mates and the broader Hutchies’ crew around, people that care about you and are ready to listen and understand.

Now, more than ever, it’s a time to connect openly – a conversation could mean a lot to someone right now.

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25 August / Update

In response to feedback and ongoing reviews of Hutchies' systems, we've updated the Work Health & Safety Management Plan.

These updates better reflect the arrangements to manage health and safety on our projects. Hutchies' WHS Management Plan is used to identify project risks and the controls to be employed on site to manage those risks. 

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31 July / COVID-19

Lockdown announced

On Saturday morning the Queensland Government announced a 3 day lockdown period for the local government areas (LGAs) of South East Queensland (incorporating Brisbane, Gold Coast, Noosa, Sunshine Coast, Ipswich, Logan, Redlands, Moreton Bay, Scenic Rim, Somerset and Lockyer Valley).

The lockdown has now been extended to 4pm Sunday, 8 August at this stage. It has been announced in response to a growing cluster which started with a high school student at Indooroopilly State High School.

The lockdown is also mandatory for anyone who has been in any of the 11x LGAs since 1am this morning and is now elsewhere.

The construction industry is still considered an essential service. Sites will remain open throughout the lockdown period at this stage. Read on for further information.

Stricter lockdown measures

The Queensland Government announced the strictest lockdown measures that the state has experienced so far, due to concern of the rapidly spreading Delta variant.

There are only four reasons to leave home during the lockdown:

  • To buy essential goods / groceries, but only within 10km of your usual place of residence. Supermarkets will be open during the lockdown period. 
  • To go to essential work / school. Childcare is open but only for children of essential workers.
  • For exercise outside, but only within 10km of your usual place of residence. Only allowed to do so with one other person from a different household.
  • For health care. You can leave to get medical care and you can provide care to someone. You can also leave home to get a COVID test or vaccine.

Additional stricter measures have also been introduced to help stop the spread:

  • No visitors allowed at home. The only exception is to care for someone who needs help, but it is recommended to delay if possible.
  • Funerals and weddings limited to 10 people.
  • Mask wearing continues to be mandatory across the 11x LGAs. You must wear a face mask at all times when you leave home, including outdoors and for exercise, unless you have a lawful reason not to.
  • Mask wearing will now be mandatory for everyone at high schools, including students, teachers and visitors in the 11x LGAs.
  • Non-essential businesses must close (eg gyms / hairdressers etc).
  • Restaurants, cafes and other hospitality venues can open but only to provide takeaway.

Hutchies' COVIDSafe sites

Construction remains essential in South East Queensland and it is important to ensure we are all working as hard as possible to keep it open in the face of ongoing outbreaks. All sites should urgently review the latest Hutchies' COVIDSafe Plan and ensure that their site is implementing the following at a minimum:

  • Regular cleaning of all site / office areas and high touch points
  • Mask wearing except when not safe to do so
  • Good hand hygiene
  • Maintaining 1.5m distance from others, including limiting numbers in hoists / lifts and crib / lunch rooms
  • Signing in using your sites' regular sign in process to provide contact details if required for contact tracing
  • Using video / teleconference software to hold meetings

Hutchies' offices in South East QLD

Everyone who works in Hutchies' offices across South East Queensland should be wearing a mask if they are working in an office during the lockdown period.

The Queensland Government has specified that people who can work from home should do so.

All face to face meetings in offices should be cancelled and replaced by video / teleconferences.

Hutchies' Toowong office

These instructions are particularly important in relation to the Toowong office.

The Toowong office is in very close proximity to the current outbreak.

If you can do your job from home, you must. You can go to the office to collect computer gear and anything else you might need to work from home during the lockdown period.

If you do need to go into the Toowong office, you must sign in using the Queensland Government QR code.

You must be wearing a mask at all times, including whilst seated. This is an important measure to stop the spread of airborne particles.

Exposure sites

The Queensland Government has provided an extensive list of exposure sites based on the movements of people who are linked to the Indooroopilly State High School cluster. More venues are expected to be added.

It is very important that anyone who is in, or has been in South East Queensland recently, checks the list daily.

If you have been to any of the venues of concern at the date and time identified, inform your Team Leader, get tested and follow the direction listed by Queensland Health.

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29 July / Update

Edition 1

Recent company snapshots have identified some pinch points in HammerTech utilisation. To assist, additional resources are available so watch this space for regular updates on all things HammerTech.

In this update you'll find:

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Play the video below to see who has been crowned winner and runner up of Apprentice of the Year, Cadet of the Year and Future Leader of the Year.

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22 July / COVID-19

Keeping people safe

We've made some updates to our COVIDSafe Plan to incorporate the latest requirements across Australia.

All of Hutchies' sites and offices must continue to implement the key COVIDSafe measures we've had in place over the last 12 months, in addition to the latest local state / territory requirements listed below.

Some of the critical aspects of our COVIDSafe plan being focsued on include:
  • Regular cleaning of all site / office areas and high touch points
  • Good hand hygiene
  • Maintaining 1.5m distance from others
  • Signing in to provide contact details if required for contact tracing

The updates we have incorporated into our latest plan (version 4) includes:

Mandatory Check In & Sign In 

It is a requirement for everyone entering a Hutchies site or office that they sign in using our own process (ie HammerTech or Visitor Register) and if mandatory in your local state, must also check in using the government issued QR code system to assist with contact tracing if required.

Mandatory Masks

Masks are mandated in several areas across Australia presently, including New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia and parts of South East Queensland. Hutchies' preference is that everyone in these areas, or if you cannot socially distance, wear a mask at all times, when it is safe to do so. 

This plan must be available on your project and to your clients. You should familiarise yourself with the necessary measures and continue to implement all requirements, including completing our weekly COVIDSafe inspection checklists for sites and offices.

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