After spending Sunday travelling across south-west Sydney closing 33 constructions sites, CSB Homes director Sandro Beretta had a message for the state government: "It's bullsh*t".
"It doesn't make sense what they are doing," said Mr Beretta of the decision by the state government to pause construction until July 30.
"I think of my 21 employees working on wages who need to pay their mortgages or save for weddings or to buy a house.
"We also have houses to handover which we can't do."
On Saturday, it was announced from 12.01am on Monday, July 19, all construction was to be paused unless it is:
- Necessary to deal with environmental risks.
- Secure a site or maintain critical equipment.
- To maintain public utilities.
- To maintain the safe operation of transport infrastructure.
- A construction site necessary for NSW Health in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
- An emergency.
All non-urgent maintenance work including cleaning services and repair work on residential premises must be paused unless it is urgently required to ensure the health, safety or security of the place of residence or the people who reside there.
The shutdown of the construction sector is expected to mean a loss of $800 million to $1 billion per week.
For Beretta, whose company offers services across Sydney including Austral, Edmondson Park, Gregory Hills, Leppington, Fairfield, Bankstown and Oran Park, said it is the toughest challenges he has faced in his 27-years in the industry. To coincide with new protocols last week they implemented QR codes on their work sites, made masks mandatory and maintained social distancing by having only one tradesman on the site at a time. Now, that has all stopped.
"I agree with the shutdown because the virus is very dangerous but the way they have done it is not correct," the Austral resident said.
Liverpool Community Campaigner Michael Andjelkovic said many building companies in south-west Sydney will be "massively impacted" by the Saturday's decision.
"How can building companies be expected to secure their building sites, cancel deliveries and trades at the drop of a hat?," he said.
"How can tradesmen be expected to walk away from half finished jobs onsite? This closure of the building industry has been poorly thought out by people who have no experience on building and construction or project management."
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said: "These decisions have not been made lightly and we understand this is a difficult time for the community and appreciate their ongoing patience. It is vital people continue to come forward for testing to help us find any COVID-19 cases in the community."
NSW and the federal government unveiled financial support for workers and businesses last week.
The state expanded its business grants and either cut or deferred payroll taxes for most companies.
Workers who have lost eight or more hours a week as a result of the lockdown will be able to apply for federal support through Services Australia for up to $600 per week.
On Saturday, Ms Berejiklian said businesses did not need to stress about cashflow problems.
"Over and above what the federal government has given, we are giving billions and billions extra. Everyone is able to get those payments if you are an individual or you can't go to work anymore," she said.
"Even if it takes a few weeks for businesses to get that money come through the door, at least when they are dealing with financial institutions and others, those institutions can be rest assured that that money is coming through the door."