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Tuesday, 7 July 2020
Issue 35.0 

1.  INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS
 

NSW / Victorian Border Closures

Application for a Covid-19 border declaration permit to travel for essential work and business purposes

The NSW-Victoria border will close at 12.01am 8 July 2020.

A travel ban is already in place for many residents of Melbourne.  In order to travel across the border for essential work, permits will be available through the Service NSW website, regardless of whether the applicant is from NSW.  There has been significant work to establish the permit system and it is anticipated that it will be live today.  More information, including details on how to apply for a permit visit: Service NSW Application for a Covid-19 border declaration permit. 

It is important to also note that:  

  • the plan will be assisted with hundreds of officers and between 350 & 500 Australian Defence Force (ADF) personnel to help NSW Police manage the operation as well as drones to police the two states' 55 border crossings 

  • the XPT service between Sydney and Melbourne (regional train) will stop when the border closes, and other interstate public transport services are under review. 

VACC has also developed a ‘Confirmation of Employment’ proforma letter (attached) which may also be used.  This, together with the Services NSW Covid-19 border declaration permit will assist you and your employees to cross the border for essential work and business purposes.  The border declaration permit is mandatory to cross the border. This letter however is not a requirement by the government but may be helpful.

If you have any further queries, please do not hesitate to contact VACC IR on (03) 9829 1123. 


Second JobKeeper member forum announced

The Australian Government has indicated the JobKeeper program will cease at the end of September 2020 with no current indication to continue grant funding to the auto industry. Therefore, it is important members have a plan for the future.

Due to unprecedented demand, a second Decisions for Employers when JobKeeper ends member forum will be conducted on Wednesday, 15 July 2020. Facilitated by VACC CEO, Geoff Gwilym, attending members will hear from VACC Workplace specialists Gabriella Marton – Senior Workplace Lawyer; Rob Martin – Senior IR Advisor; and Andrea Chwalko – Payroll, HR and JobKeeper specialist.

Date: Wednesday, 15 July

Time: 11am – 12pm

RSVP here

Limited spots available, members must RSVP to secure their place and receive the Zoom link.

Key topics to be covered:

  • Managing staff numbers
  • Preparing the workplace for the return to work post COVID-19
  • How to manage payroll, leave accruals, apprentice payments.


Members can read more on the forum here.

Extension of unpaid pandemic leave and annual leave flexibility in the VRSR Award 2020 and other awards

Members were advised on 9 April 2020 of a determination by the Fair Work Commission (FWC) to introduce unpaid pandemic leave into 99 awards until 30 June 2020.  This determination included the Vehicle, Repair Services and Retail Award 2020 (VRSR Award).  On 1 July 2020, The Fair Work Commission issued a further decision to extend the operation of unpaid pandemic leave and the annual leave flexibility to 30 September 2020. These provisions are set out in “Schedule X - Additional Measures During the COVID-19 Pandemic” of the VRSR Award.

The determinations inserted a temporary new schedule into these awards. The schedule provides employees with:

  • 2 weeks of unpaid pandemic leave; and
  • the ability to take twice as much annual leave at half their normal pay if the employer agrees.


The schedule in each award applies from an employee’s first full pay period on or after 8 April 2020 until 30 September 2020.

If you require further information, please contact VACC IR Department (03) 9829 1123.

2.  GOVERNMENT ANNOUNCEMENTS

Return to Stage 3 restrictions for Victorian hot spots

Premier Daniel Andrews last week announced a return to stage 3 stay at home restrictions in the areas around Melbourne experiencing a rise in coronavirus infections from 11.59pm on July 1st until at least July 29th.  The restrictions apply to the following postcodes:

Postcode

Suburbs

3012

Brooklyn, Kingsville, Maidstone, Tottenham, West Footscray

3021

Albanvale, Kealba, Kings Park, St Albans

3032

Ascot Vale, Highpoint City, Maribyrnong, Travancore

3038

Keilor Downs, Keilor Lodge, Taylors Lakes, Watergardens

3042

Airport West, Keilor Park, Niddrie

3046

Glenroy, Hadfield, Oak Park

3047

Broadmeadows, Dallas, Jacana

3055

Brunswick South, Brunswick West, Moonee Vale, Moreland West

3060

Fawkner

3064

Craigieburn, Donnybrook, Mickelham, Roxburgh Park, Kalkallo


In these areas, there will again only be four reasons to go outside:

  • Shopping for food and supplies;
  • Care and caregiving;
  • Exercise; and
  • Study or work if you cannot work from home.


If you live outside of these locations there’s only four reasons to come in: shopping for food and supplies, care and caregiving, exercise, and study or work – if you can’t do it from home.

Members and the community are reminded that auto remains an essential service and can remain open. The Premier has announced a further $5,000 in dedicated support for a business previously eligible for the Business Support Fund Grant or a payroll tax refund.

More updates to come.

Members can read more here, or find the Premier’s full statement here.


Two new post codes added to stay at home orders

From 11:59pm Saturday 4 July additional postcodes added to the Stage 3 lockdown orders are:

3031 – includes Flemington, Kensington

3051 – includes Hotham Hill, North Melbourne

Any member who has been approached by law enforcement and asked to cease trading, or customers told that vehicle repairs is not an essential service should contact VACC immediately.


Government Restriction Checker

To view the latest updates and most accurate information on the current restrictions for each state, a Government Restriction Checker tool has been created. The tool breaks down the specifics of each restriction, as it relates to each state / territory.

3.  OHS&E

Avoiding workplace COVID safety complacency

Members are reminded that even if restrictions subside, Covid control measures are still required and will be enforced by WorkSafe for at least the remainder of 2020.

A new and useful control measures template has been provided by the Victorian Government for businesses when returning to work. This can still be used even if you have already returned to work, to help ensure your business is meeting Covid-19 safety requirements.
The new template can be found here.

All Covid-19 safety measures must be enforced and communications with employees ongoing. Consultation with employees to remind them of their requirements are imperative.

Please remember that WorkSafe Inspectors have powers to enter any workplace at any time without prior warning, therefore it is crucial that members remain vigilant and avoid complacency as this may result in a notice being issued against your business or a potential workers compensation claim with associated deep cleaning and temporary closure costs.

If you have any queries, please contact the VACC OHSE Unit on 03 9829 1265.


Medical and PPE supplier directories published to business.vic.gov.au

As businesses begin to emerge from restrictions, the equipment needed to help staff and customers address new operating requirements, including personal protective equipment (PPE) is in high demand.

As a result, PPE supplier directories have been uploaded to a new page on the Business Victoria website Coronavirus (COVID-19) Medical Equipment and PPE Supplier Directories.

Businesses can use these directories to find medical equipment and PPE. Businesses supplying products in these categories can email their interest in appearing on future directories to medicalPPEsupplies@djpr.vic.gov.au.

4.  INDUSTRY SUPPORT

Simplified re-registration process for business-use vehicles in Covid recovery

The Victorian Government has agreed, in order to assist businesses with recovery from COVID19, to a simplified re-registration process for business-use vehicles (including vehicles registered to LMCTs).

The process will allow vehicles, where the registration was cancelled after 15 March 2020 and before 1 July 2020, to be re-registered through an online process through the vehicle operators myVicRoads account. When re-registering through this process, VicRoads will waive the need to provide a certificate of roadworthiness, a registration appointment fee and number plate fees.

To be eligible, the vehicle must have been manufactured no more than 5 years before the date on which it is being re-registered, must be re-registered into the same name as the previous registered operator, and must be for business-use (this includes LMCTs who are not incorporated bodies).

If the number plates have been retained, the process can be done entirely through the myVicRoads account and the only amounts payable are the appropriate registration and TAC fees. Operators can nominate a 3, 6 or 12 month registration period or they can nominate a common expiry date.

If the number plates have been returned to VicRoads, myVicRoads will process the transaction but will direct the customer to a Customer Service Centre to collect number plates and pay the registration and TAC fees.


Advice from the Office of the Minister for Police, The Hon Lisa Neville MP from April 2020

VACC had previously forwarded correspondence stating industry concern regarding the confused messaging from Victoria Police to the Office of the Minister for Police, The Hon Lisa Neville MP.

VACC acknowledges Victoria Police are in a difficult position when dealing with recalcitrant community behaviour regarding COVID 19 and the continued increase in confirmed COVID-19 diagnoses.

VACC was provided with the following advice from the Office of the Minister for Police that states:

VACC is correct in that the automotive trade is not being prohibited from work or opening, so staff can work, and customers engage as appropriate and consistent with the CHO requirements around density quotients and physical distancing.

Accordingly, the Office of the Minister for Police has provided VACC's correspondence to the Chief Commissioner’s office to ensure it informs the ongoing messaging to police members during this time.

In addition, police officers are not meant to be stopping people from travelling for work or restricting trade of businesses that can and should remain open as long as they are maintaining density quotients and physical distancing.

 


5.  PREVIOUS UPDATE ISSUES

You can read previous Updates of COVID-19 HERE.


Geoff Gwilym
Chief Executive Officer




Disclaimer:  The information gathered has been drawn from a number of sources and VACC strongly recommends that members revert to the primary source of information for any clarification.