LAVINGTON building giant Zauner Construction is having to contemplate cutting staff because COVID travel rules are stranding its Victorian workers.
Company chief Garry Zauner said half the firm's 80 workers lived south of the Murray River and could not join jobs beyond the bubble in NSW without needing to isolate upon returning home.
"It is causing incredible distress," Mr Zauner said.
"I've got an employee in Bellbridge, who is working on a school in Griffith, and he can't go there because if he does he wouldn't be able to see his family for 14 days."
Mr Zauner was commenting on Thursday ahead of Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews announcing another seven-day lockdown for the Garden State after more COVID cases in Melbourne.
He said he had been unable to have workers travel from the capital to install three new lifts at the Gardens medical centre in Albury.
Further into NSW, Zauner has projects at Braidwood, Griffith, Merimbula, Ulladulla and Wagga.
"What we're asking the Victorian government is to allow people in the bubble to continue to work in areas that aren't truly COVID hotspots, so there's no reason why one of my Wodonga employees can't drive to Griffith, Lockhart, Wagga or Tumbarumba to do one of my projects, equally there's no reason Albury should continue to be punished just because it has a NSW address," Mr Zauner said.
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Zauner Construction chief operating officer Ronan Pringle outlined the company's plight in a letter to Wangaratta-based Victorian Upper House MP Tania Maxwell.
"With the latest escalation in restrictions, we are now being faced with being forced into the undesirable position of potentially having to stand down or make redundancies, as we are unable to send Victorian residents out of the Border Bubble to our regional construction sites in NSW," he told Ms Maxwell.
The Derryn Hinch's Justice Party representative reacted by writing on Thursday to Victorian Health Minister Martin Foley.
"I seek your assistance in resolving this issue by making provision for the construction industry to be considered an essential service as part of the Border Bubble and that a workable solution be determined in consultation with regional businesses (such as Zauner) to enable them to travel in regional NSW and Victoria where there are no cases for work purposes," Ms Maxwell wrote.
She told The Border Mail the government needed to better engage with regional communities.
"Places without cases deserve a fair go, and I ask the government to talk with us, listen and use some common sense." Ms Maxwell said.
Mr Foley's office did not respond to The Border Mail.