The shutdown takes effect from Tuesday and follows clashes in which bottles and a crate were thrown at union officials, and police deployed special units.
The Victoria state government has demanded that all construction workers receive at least one dose of vaccine by Friday.
“We alerted the industry just a week ago, we have seen appalling behavior on site and in our streets, and now we are acting decisively and without hesitation,” said Industrial Relations Minister Tim Pallas , in a statement Monday evening.
Victoria Police said “several people” were arrested during the unrest.
The forced closure of construction sites will worsen the country’s economic activity, with some economists predicting that the extended shutdowns could push Australia’s economy from A $ 2 trillion ($ 1.45 billion) into a second recession in as many ‘years.
Australia has locked up Sydney and Melbourne, its largest cities and the capital Canberra, to quell an outbreak of the highly infectious Delta variant.
But the severe restrictions sparked anti-lockdown rallies with police arresting hundreds of people in both cities over the weekend.
Regional containment, reopening
In New South Wales, at least three regional councils – in Byron, Kempsey and Tweed – were ordered to return to lockdown on Tuesday afternoon, after 1,022 cases and 10 deaths were reported in the state , according to the Sydney Morning Herald.
“Unfortunately, we’ve had a few cases in the northern part of the state,” NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard said Tuesday morning.
In NSW hospitals, there are at least 1,266 active cases of COVID-19, including 244 people in intensive care.
The crowd is growing. pic.twitter.com/b3MnG1Z2Gn
– Patrick Murrell (@pamurrell) September 21, 2021
Authorities, meanwhile, have started to ease some strict restrictions on outdoor gatherings and exercise in Sydney and Melbourne as vaccination rates rise, with residents promising more freedom once 70 to 80 percent of the adult population will be fully vaccinated.
So far, 53% in NSW, where Sydney is located, have been fully vaccinated and 44% in Victoria.
A total of 603 new cases were detected in Victoria on Tuesday, the biggest daily increase of the year, eclipsing the previous record of 567 a day earlier. The state recorded one additional death.
Even with the Delta outbreaks, Australia has kept its COVID-19 count lower than many comparable countries, with 87,700 cases and 1,168 deaths.