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  • Closure of NSW construction industry will have massive impact on the economy

    Author: AAP

The Business Council of Australia believes the shutdown of the NSW construction industry will have a big impact on Australia's economic recovery.

Business and unions are concerned about the closure of the construction industry in NSW and the "massive" impact it will have on the economy.

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Economists were already estimating the cost of the twin shutdowns in Australia's two major cities at $10 billion even before the NSW government tightened restrictions further on Saturday.

Such concerns came as NSW reported a further 105 new virus cases on Sunday, as well as the death of a woman in her 90s, the fourth fatality in this breakout.

The Greater Sydney lockdown at this stage is due to end on July 30.


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In Melbourne, which is in the middle of a snap five-day shutdown, 17 cases were reported.

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews told reporters it was too early to say whether his state's lockdown will end as planned.

Business Council of Australia chief executive Jennifer Westacott said the new NSW restrictions, including the closure of the construction industry, were a big blow to the economy.

"The shutdown of construction will have a massive economic impact because this is a sector with a long tail through the economy," Ms Westacott said.

"We have to find a way through on construction as a matter of urgency because there are big financial and health and safety impacts that flow from a sector-wide pause."

CFMEU NSW secretary Darren Greenfield said the decision will affect hundreds of thousands of workers across the industry and supply chains.

"The NSW and federal governments need to ensure any emergency payments and other support measures are made available to affected workers and their families without delay," he said.

Federal Labor is also pressuring the Morrison government to rethink its economic support programs, demanding a return of the successful JobKeeper wage subsidy that ended in March.

"Come tomorrow, people would have been going to work in most instances and they can't go to work," Labor frontbencher Chris Bowen told Sky News' Sunday Agenda program.

"There will be a very big crisis when it comes to families' budgets across our area and the economic package that Scott Morrison has delivered does not cut the mustard."

He said the support package that is being provided is complex and confusing and it's difficult to access the information.

"I didn't have to explain JobKeeper to people. JobKeeper had the benefit that it kept people in touch with their employer, it kept the employment link open and alive and that doesn't happen at the moment," Mr Bowen said.

The Morrison government has repeatedly said it will not return to the JobKeeper scheme.

However, the government is providing $3 million to ensure young Victorians can access mental health support if and when they need it during this lockdown.

The funding will be matched by the Victorian government and delivered through headspace, helping meet the critical demand for youth mental health services across the state.

"This is a tough time for our young Australians and we want them to know that they are not alone, which is why we're putting more health professionals on the ground to meet increased demand," federal Health Minister Greg Hunt said.

The government is also making available significant quantities of personal protective equipment to a number of GPs, community pharmacies and other healthcare providers across multiple Victorian areas, including Greater Melbourne.

Th equipment includes up to 725,000 surgical masks and 175,000 pairs of gloves, gowns and googles.

"These packages will assist to further suppress the COVID-19 infection rate occurring across Melbourne and builds on the recent commitment to support NSW," Mr Hunt said.


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