THE MELBOURNE METRO ROADMAP

How it affects our industry

The Victorian Government recently announced Melbourne’s restriction roadmap to a ‘COVID normal.’
This includes a guideline for business restrictions. Under the current guidance, automotive, machinery and equipment repair and maintenance are permitted to operate:
a) where service providers are providing support to a permitted service or industry; or
b) where required to maintain the health and safety of Victorians at home or at work (for example, vehicle repairs and critical maintenance including disinfection).
This will not alter significantly in the initial rollback of restrictions, however as more industries are permitted to work under the easing of restrictions, more support will be required for the increase of vehicles on the road.
Routine maintenance (such as logbook or scheduled maintenance) is not permitted as a standalone service unless it can be deemed as being required on safety grounds.
If urgent vehicle repairs are already being undertaken, routine maintenance and servicing can also be completed at the same time to keep the vehicle roadworthy.
Product recalls or repairs are permitted as this relates to ensuring safety.
If you are more than five kilometres from a customer’s home, or if their vehicle requires specialist and/or brand-specific work that you offer to repair the vehicle, the customer may travel outside the five kilometre zone to access your services.
As COVID-19 cases decrease and the advice from the Victorian Chief Health Officer is updated, the rollback dates and information on the level of restrictions our industry faces will change accordingly. The AAAA will continue its work in providing all members with up-to-date information on the requirements and re-opening of workplaces.
The RoadMap out of restrictions is divided into four steps:

  • First Step – up to 28 September.
  • Second Step – After 28 September AND if an average daily case rate in metropolitan Melbourne of 30-50 cases over a 14-day period is reached. 
  • Third Step – After 26 October AND daily average number of cases in the last 14 days is less than five (state-wide) AND less than five cases with an unknown source in the last 14 days (state-wide total).
  • Fourth Step – After 23 November AND no new cases for 14 days.

There are four categories of restriction:

  1. Closed
  2. Heavily Restricted
  3. Restricted
  4. Open with a COVIDSafe Plan

A summary of the requirements for each category is as follows. For the full requirements document, contact the AAAA.

Sector-By-Sector
We are still seeking additional advice for some segments of our industry, but we do have the following information on our sub-sectors. In principle, no industry is worse off in the forthcoming steps – we are not going backwards. The RoadMap is a path out of the current business shutdown – it does not enforce any more closures than are currently in place. 
As we move forward, there will be some additional requirements to be incorporated in the COVIDSafe Plans and the AAAA expects to be able to provide more information on these requirements before Second Step begins on 28 September.

  1. Auto Manufacturing: First Step: Status quo (Heavily Restricted. Closed unless permitted) until 28 September. Second Step: Restricted. Third and Last step – Open with a COVIDSafe Plan.
  2. Wholesale Trade and Warehousing: First Step: Status quo (Heavily restricted. Closed unless permitted) until 28 September. Second Step: Restricted. 33 percent reduction still in place. Third and Last step – Open with a COVIDSafe Plan. The AAAA will be making additional representations on this restriction level as it does not see the 33 percent reduction as appropriate or sustainable and updates will be made available on www.aaaa.com.au when possible.
  3. Motor Vehicle Parts Retail: Same rules apply for retail as is currently the case until 28 September. After 28 September open with a COVID Safe Plan for permitted industries including motor vehicle parts for emergency repairs only.
  4. Automotive Service and Repair: Technically a ‘Restricted’ industry but essentially the current status quo. Under the current guidance, automotive, machinery and equipment repair and maintenance are permitted to operate: (a) where service providers are providing support to a permitted service or industry or (b) where required to maintain the health and safety of Victorians at home or at work (e.g. vehicle repairs and critical maintenance including disinfection).

Routine maintenance (ie. logbook or scheduled maintenance) is not permitted as a standalone service, but where urgent vehicle repairs are being undertaken, routine maintenance and servicing can also be completed at the same time to keep the vehicle roadworthy. Product recalls or repairs are permitted as this relates to ensuring safety.
For customers: If the nearest mechanic is more than five kilometres from the customer’s home, or if their vehicle requires a specialist and/or brand-specific workplace in order to complete repairs, they may travel outside the five kilometre zone to access these services.

Heavily Restricted:

  • Ensure physical distancing: staff can only attend work if permitted. Staff in permitted work premises must work from home if they can, apply density quotient, reduce staff levels, limit number of patrons, no carpooling to work.
  • Wear a mask: ensure the proper use of masks in the workplace. For some sectors, additional PPE requirements. Ensure adequate PPE training and supply.
  • Practise good hygiene: auditing of cleaning schedules.
  • Note – New Requirement: Keep records and act quickly if staff become unwell: ask staff to declare in writing or electronically before each shift that they are free of symptoms, have not been in contact with a confirmed case and have not been directed to isolate.
  • Create workforce bubbles: ensure that staff members are not working across other work sites (exceptions apply).

Restricted

  • Ensure physical distancing: staff should work from home wherever possible, apply density quotient, some sectors allowed to lessen the reduction in staff levels, some sectors allowed to lessen the reduction in patrons, no carpooling to work.
  • Practise good hygiene: auditing of cleaning schedules.
  • Keep records and act quickly if staff become unwell. Note – New Requirement: ask staff to declare verbally before each shift that they are free of symptoms.
  • Create workforce bubbles: limit number of staff members working across other work sites.

Open with a COVIDSafe Plan

  • Staff should work from home wherever possible (to be relaxed over time).
  • Apply density quotient for some settings (could be reduced over time). 
  • Ensure staff follow current public health directions when carpooling.
  • Workplaces with less than five workers on site are not required to have a COVIDSafe Plan, however it is recommended that you complete it anyway or something similar.

Other Important Issues

  1. Commercial Leases: The Victorian Government will extend a ban on evictions and rental increases until the end of the year, increase assistance, and ensure tenant turnover is taken into account in rental negotiations. This means negotiations for rent relief between a commercial tenant and their landlord must consider this timeframe. Under the extension, evictions will continue to be banned for both residential and commercial tenancies until December 31, except in specific circumstances. Rental increases continue to be banned for the same period.
  2. Business Support Grants: We are advised that more business assistance will be announced in the coming weeks.
  3. Test Isolation Payment: Test isolation payment increased to $450. Victorians who get a coronavirus (COVID-19) test, self-isolate at home while waiting for their results. The Test Isolation Payment is also available for parents and guardians caring for someone 16 years old and under, who is self-isolating while waiting for their coronavirus (COVID-19) test results. Anyone living in Victoria can receive this support, you do not need to be a citizen or a permanent resident to receive support.

For further assistance
For AAAA members only do not forget you can login to the AAAA website at www.aaaa.com.au/member-login or contact advocacy@aaaa.com.au at any time with questions.

In addition, the Employer Assist Hotline (1300 735 306) and Legal Hotline (1300 369 703) are also ready to assist answer your questions.

The AAAA asks that you please contact the details above and advise if you feel that you are following the rules and others are not, if you hear of fines or you feel that you are being unfairly treated. Your feedback will assist the AAAA as it continues to liaise with the government about these restrictions.

Current as at 17 September 2020