These construction workers reveal the reality of the closure


Nauroze Anees will be out of work for at least two weeks, following the NSW government’s decision to shut down the construction industry in Greater Sydney.

Nauroze, who came from Pakistan to Australia, normally completes construction work via Airtasker, but had to cancel the last work.

“How do they expect someone like me to survive these difficult times?” Nauroze said Food.

“It’s going to be difficult for people to make ends meet. “

Nauroze believes those who work in the construction industry have worked hard to comply with public health measures by wearing masks and respecting social distancing.

“The virus is dangerous, but not having food on the table is even more dangerous. So a balance has to be found here.

Narouze is a volunteer at the National Justice Project.


The construction hiatus will last in Greater Sydney until at least midnight on July 30 and will impact government projects, home renovations and road developments.

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said work could still continue in emergency situations if urgent repairs are needed to the house and families need to be protected.

She said the government wanted to ensure the industry is well supported in implementing additional COVID security measures, including on-site testing.

“We cannot let people… visit several construction sites, visit sites with hundreds of workers and spread the disease,” she told reporters on Monday.

“It was a threat that was too great.”

Plumber Daniel Zeitoun has also been affected by the construction job freeze.

The 25-year-old lives in the Fairfield area, where cases have increased in recent weeks.

Daniel says he is not eligible for the government’s COVID-19 disaster payment because he saved on annual leave and has more than $ 10,000 in his bank account.

The COVID-19 disaster payment is a one-time cash payment for each lockdown week.

Government departments affected by public sector workers' strike

A Medicare and Centrelink office sign at Bondi Junction in Sydney, Australia.

Getty Images

If you lost less than 20 hours of work, you can receive $ 325. If you lost 20 or more hours of work, you can receive $ 500.

However, you must have cash under $ 10,000 if you are applying for the period between July 4 and July 10, 2021.

“We are forced to use our vacation nest egg and then when the vacation season comes, we will have to work,” Daniel said.

Daniel is currently trying to pay off a mortgage of around $ 600 per week and is feeling very stressed that he has no income.

“It’s a terrible decision for them to shut down construction,” he said. Food.

“They have to find something to get things done.”

The balance sheet of construction workers

Freezing non-essential services will exacerbate the mental health crisis facing construction workers, said Brad Parker, managing director of Mates in Construction.

MATES is a charity working to reduce the high suicide rate among Australian construction workers through on-site community development programs and a 24/7 helpline.

“We know we lose an average construction worker every two days to suicide,” Mr. Parker said. Food.

“The suicide rate among construction workers is 80% higher than that of the general population.

“They are six times more likely to kill themselves than to have work-related accidents.”

Stay-at-home orders for greater Sydney and its coronavirus-affected surroundings have been tightened, including a break from all construction work until the end of July.

Stay-at-home orders for greater Sydney and its coronavirus-affected surroundings have been tightened, including a break from all construction work until the end of July.


Mr Parker said MATES supported public health measures but encouraged those affected by the lockdown to seek help.

“Construction workers can live from week to week,” Parker said.

“So they worry about getting their money in and if they don’t get an income which obviously has huge factors with financial problems at home.

“It is important that we recognize that while the lockdown may be a significant issue for COVID-19 suppression, it has other impacts on people’s mental health. “

Nauroze is taking medication for post-traumatic stress disorder – resulting from his time at the Villawood detention center. He said he felt anxious that he would not be able to work as well as the prospect of an extended shutdown of the industry.

Nauroze has a transitional visa and spent five years locked up in Villawood before being released last year.

He arrived in Australia in 2007 on a student visa. In 2011, the visa was canceled after he stopped studying to care for his partner, who suffered from severe mental health issues.

Nauroze was released last November after the Administrative Appeals Tribunal ruled he should not be denied a visa application on moral grounds.

“I don’t have the luxury of having a period of reflection [after being released], I need to work actively, to look for reasonable actions to get back on my feet, ”he said.

“[Not being able to work] take away my sense of self-respect. I don’t want to call friends and ask them for money for bills or for rent.

“I don’t want to ask for handouts.

MATES offers 24/7 assistance to construction workers. Contact 1300 642 111 for assistance

If you or someone you know needs help with mental health issues, contact Lifeline on 13 11 14 or Beyond Blue on 1300 22 4636


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