What is the construction pause?

On Saturday 17 July the NSW Government announced its intention to temporarily pause construction work across Greater Sydney from Monday 19 July – Friday 30 July 2021 (inclusive). The two-week construction pause was put in place to reduce the spread of the Delta variant of COVID-19 across Greater Sydney and to allow for the construction industry to make plans for ongoing operations that minimise the risk of infection.

Exclusions – Urgent works

The only works permitted to be carried out during the construction pause in Greater Sydney are urgent works, including:

  • to ensure the safety or security of the construction site;
  • to deal with environmental risks;
  • to maintain and ensure the integrity of the critical plant, equipment, or assets, including partially completed works, that would otherwise deteriorate;
  • to receive deliveries of supplies that would otherwise deteriorate;
  • to maintain public utilities;
  • to ensure the safe operation of existing transport infrastructure;
  • by or on behalf of NSW Health in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, or
  • Because of an emergency.

When can construction resume?

Construction is intended to resume from Saturday 31 July, subject to sites having completed the mandatory COVID-19 Safety Plan for Construction Sites in Greater Sydney. The COVID-19 Safety Plan has been developed by the government and industry to ensure COVID-safe measures are applied consistently across industry. From Thursday 29 July some preparatory work will be permitted on construction sites to enable construction sites to resume safely on 31 July. Worksites will be able to operate on Sundays and public holidays up until Christmas to make up for any lost time.

Are all workers allowed back on site from Saturday 31 July?

Yes, all workers are allowed back on-site from 31 July with the exception of unauthorised workers from the identified LGA’s (listed below). However, all construction sites across Greater Sydney must comply with the mandatory COVID-19 Safety Plan which will require social distancing measures to be put in place including minimising contact between workers. For smaller sites, this may mean fewer workers can attend the site.

Note: For workers whose, hours and income have been significantly reduced by the lockdown may be eligible for the COVID-19 Disaster Payment from the NSW Government (see details below).

Are construction workers allowed to work outside of Greater Sydney?

Workers from Greater Sydney who work 50km or more outside of Greater Sydney must have a COVID-19 test in the 7 days before entering that workplace. Site managers can ask for proof of testing and residence.

What construction sites will not be able to re-open?

Construction sites located in the Local Government Areas (LGA’s) listed below will remain closed:

  • Blacktown,
  • Canterbury-Bankstown,
  • Campbelltown,
  • Cumberland,
  • Fairfield,
  • Liverpool,
  • Parramatta, and
  • Georges River.

Residents from the identified LGAs cannot leave their local area to attend work unless they are an authorised worker. General construction workers are not authorised workers.

Who is considered to be an authorised worker from the identified LGAs?

Manufacturing businesses located in the identified LGAs that are critical to the construction supply chain are considered to be authorised workers and are permitted to operate within these LGAs. Employees of those manufacturing businesses are also considered to be authorised workers and are permitted to leave their LGA for work, subject to meeting any relevant NSW Health testing requirements. This includes workers engaged in the manufacturing of construction materials, plants, and components. These exceptions are in place to ensure the construction supply chain can continue to operate given that many of the relevant businesses are located in the identified LGAs.

Is there any financial support available for those affected by the construction pause?

Transport for NSW (Transport) has created the COVID-19 Liquidity Support Program (Program) to provide immediate support to limit the impact of the construction pause across Greater Sydney. The Program facilitates cash flow to ensure the supply chain of employees, equipment, and other resources are supported and ready to recommence work by 31 July 2021. This support is available now to Transport’s contractors and we strongly encourage your participation to facilitate cash flow across industry.

Eligible participants of the Program will receive support in the form of accelerated payment of certified June work and accelerated advance payments of actual and anticipated July works and on-site activities impacted by the Construction Pause.

  1. Payment for work to the end of June 2021 (June Claim)
    Irrespective of whether you opt in to the Program payment, certified progress claims will be made on an urgent basis.
  2. Payment for work to 30 July 2021 (July Claim)
    Contractors may immediately submit a progress payment claim for July 2021 providing details of:
    • Activities and works completed up to the time of the pause on construction (12:01 am on Monday 19 July 2021); and
    • A cost estimate of the activities and works that would have been undertaken during the construction pause (19 July 2021 to 30 July 2021, inclusive) is consistent with the July forecast and may include the cost of dealing with the construction pause.

It is paramount that contractual relief flows through the entire supply chain, from head contractors right down to subcontractors and suppliers. Evidence that subcontractors have been paid must be submitted in the usual way.  Following reconciliation, if payments have not passed through to subcontractors, as appropriate, Transport reserves the right to recover them.

To submit your payment claim for July 2021, contact the Transport Shared Service Centre for advice on the Program.

Contact: Transport Shared Service Centre 1300 234 987
8 am – 5 pm, Monday to Friday

NSW Government Support

The NSW Government has provided additional support to small-medium size businesses and individuals affected by the construction pause across Greater Sydney. This support is summarised below:

Individuals Small – Medium Businesses
COVID-19 Disaster Payment JobSaver
Mental Health Long Service Leave
Additional Leave Support Payroll Tax Deferrals
Payroll Tax Concessions


More information can be found here.



Morrissey Law + Advisory communications are only intended to provide commentary and general information as at the date of publication. They are for reference purposes only, do not constitute legal advice and should not be relied upon as such. Formal legal advice should always be obtained about particular transactions, contracts or matters of interest before taking any action based on this communication. Authors and contributors may not be admitted in all State and Territories.