COVID-19 FUELS NSW BUS-CLEANING DEMAND

By: Fabian Cotter, Photography by: courtesy VDG


PEACE OF MIND for public-transport-using customers is targeted via a NSW State Government $250 million cleaners’ ‘stimulus package’, which sees more than 550 new and redeployed cleaners boosting the state’s “first line of defence” against the Covid-19 coronavirus, it’s been announced.

COVID-19 FUELS NSW BUS-CLEANING DEMAND
“We’ve introduced a number of new measures to ensure our transport network is as clean as possible with crews working through the night to disinfect trains, buses, metro, light rail, ferries, depots and facilities ready for the morning commute,” Minister Constance said.

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian says the fresh wave of cleaners had resulted in enhanced cleaning of vital public infrastructure including schools, TAFE and transport facilities.

"While these cleaners are improving hygiene across the state, this package will provide a much-needed social and economic boost across the state," Premier Berejiklian said.

"Not only will this package support jobs and businesses, importantly it will also give the public the peace of mind that the Government is ensuring our public transport and education facilities remain as clean as possible at all times."

NSW Treasurer Dominic Perrottet says the state government was on track to see the equivalent of 3,000 full-time cleaners on board by the end of June, 2020.

"The thousands of jobs being generated from our stimulus package is also keeping people in jobs, and businesses in business," Treasurer Perrottet said.

"We’re hiring new cleaners, increasing the hours of existing cleaners and redeploying cleaners who would otherwise have lost jobs due to the temporary closure of some public facilities."

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BUS EXPERIENCE

The funding has helped Western Sydney cleaning company VDG Services - which is sanitising more than 550 State Transit buses daily in the eastern suburbs - keep a dozen workers in jobs after some clients cut back on cleaning, the government explains.

Minister for Transport and Roads Andrew Constance says this was one example of the Government’s package making a meaningful difference in Transport, where cleaning efforts across the network have increased by over 83,000 hours since March.

"We’ve introduced a number of new measures to ensure our transport network is as clean as possible with crews working through the night to disinfect trains, buses, metro, light rail, ferries, depots and facilities ready for the morning commute," Minister Constance said.

"People catching a train might see one of our flying squads get on at one station and wipe down the train before getting off at another station to get on another train to do the job again. Or those catching a ferry, might see one of our teams wiping down the Opal readers or cleaning the terminal, making sure people are protected."

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Transport for NSW has distributed approximately 185,500 litres of hand sanitiser to staff, while 300 hand sanitiser stations across all 165 stations on the Sydney Trains network are available for customers, with the expansion to ferry wharves underway, it explains.

Thousands of personal hand sanitisers and packets of disinfectant wipes have also been distributed to staff at all train stations, bus depots, work sites and offices, including our frontline workers, it confirms.

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GROWING DEMAND

Treasurer Perrottet says small and medium-sized cleaning businesses could apply for supplementary government cleaning contracts to help fight the spread of Covid-19 through a new business portal.

"We’re recruiting small and medium-sized cleaning businesses to help existing contractors with the cleaning task, with more than 50 businesses pre-qualified and able to get to work as ready-to-go teams," he said.

A compliant application takes around three days to be processed, with businesses placed on a pre-qualified list for Government agencies to engage with, the government states.

Supplementary contracts available include: 

* General cleaning in low risk areas;

* Enhanced cleaning for Covid-19 risk reduction;

* Environment cleaning of facilities after a suspected Covid-19 diagnosis, and cleaning auditing services.

Registrations for supplementary cleaning contracts can be made here.

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