The NSW Government has made changes so that construction sites can now operate on weekends and public holidays under new rules to support the industry during the COVID-19 pandemic. This move allows workers to abide by social distancing rules while keeping construction projects progressing by allowing building work to be spread across more days of the week. The construction and development sectors, which make up almost 10 per cent of NSW's economy, will be vital in keeping people in jobs and keeping investment flowing over the coming weeks and months. We're doing what we can to support the industry in line with the current medical advice by extending weekday construction site operating hours to weekends and public holidays. The extended hours allow the industry to facilitate social distancing on construction sites, while minimising the potential for lost productivity during the pandemic. In NSW there are almost 400,000 people employed in the property and construction industry and we are committed to doing everything we can to keep each of them in work, but most importantly, to keep them safe and healthy.
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The NSW Government continues to focus on the challenges facing people living and working in regional NSW, which is why a new department solely focused on Regional NSW has been established. People living in regional NSW have endured droughts, bushfires, and now face the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. The new department will be formed to respond to these challenges and provide stimulus to support our regions as great places for people to live and work. The Department of Regional NSW will be a central agency for regional issues, building strong and resilient regional communities and economies, strengthening primary industries, managing the use of our valuable regional land, overseeing the state's mineral and mining resources and ensuring that Government investment into regional NSW continues to be fair and delivers positive outcomes for local communities and businesses.
I want to express my sincere thanks to all health workers not only here in our electorate, but right across the State. Health workers are on the front line in the fight against COVID-19. These professional people are working hard to keep all of us safe and going above and beyond dealing with a rapidly evolving situation. These individuals deserve the highest praise. Our medical practitioners are working around the clock to combat this virus. Many hospitals, GPs, nurses, aged care workers, clinicians, paramedics, hospital support staff, medical administrators, pathologists, cleaners and other health workers are doing the best to keep us all safe. I want to personally thank them, and our Local Health District, for keeping me informed on their work and commend them on their leadership. We must continue to support them by doing the right thing. This means practicing social distancing, working from home if you can, washing your hands with soap and water, or with hand sanitiser, to reduce the spread of this virus. We must all listen to health advice and to the regular updates from authorities. Most importantly we must look out for each other. We will get through this and for the latest information from the NSW Government on the COVID-19 pandemic please visit https://preview.nsw.gov.au/covid-19
With the Easter Holidays just around the corner, I'm reminding people that they need to stay home unless it's for essential travel. This is a tough call, not one that I would normally make, but we all need to put off our holiday beak and stay safe.
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