Major projects worth $44 million under way in Warrnambool could face delays with the state government bringing in strict new rules for construction workers in a bid to protect regional areas from a COVID outbreak.
Nicholsons Construction, which is overseeing the city's new $20 million library hub and the $22 million primary health centre at Lyndoch, will be subject to new rules stopping Melbourne construction workers coming to regional Victoria.
Premier Daniel Andrews also announced on Thursday compulsory vaccinations for construction workers and gave them just a week to roll up their sleeves for their first shot.
Nicholsons director Paul Toye said it was too early to tell exactly how the new rules would affect their projects in the south-west which also included works at Budj Bim and at a Hamilton school but it could have a negative impact. "Ultimately it could delay projects," he said.
However, Mr Toye said most of the sub-contractors and suppliers working on the sites were local or from regional Victoria but there would be some specialist workers from Melbourne that they would need to use for specific jobs.
He said in the next week or two it probably wouldn't have a great effect, but if it dragged on longer it might become more of an issue.
A Nicholson Construction spokesperson said it had the potential to shut down parts of regional sites, and the company had projects all over the state.
Constructions sites were already reduced to 25 per cent of the workforce, and there was hope that could be increased soon under the government's roadmap set to be announced on Sunday.
Mr Toye said workers already had to show their work safe white cards to be on construction sites, and under the new rules they would now have to show proof of vaccination.
The move comes after an outbreak which sent Ballarat into a seven-day lockdown which was seeded from a Ballarat-based construction worker bringing the virus back from Melbourne.
The new rules will come into effect at 11.59pm Thursday and will affect people travelling in both directions.
"So there's no movement between metro and regional, regional and metro, for the purposes of the construction industry," Mr Andrews said.
"We don't want to see more and more of these building sites falling over with dozens and dozens of cases, when it only takes a handful, really, to potentially have a large regional city or a large part of regional Victoria shut down again.
"We want to try and limit the impact on regional Victoria."
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