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Construction gains from the Federal Budget

The Federal Budget has taken into account the need for skilled workers in the construction and housing sector, and so the Government will provide $88.8m for 20,000 additional Fee-Free TAFE and VET places in construction-relevant courses. Source: Timberbiz

The Government will also provide $1.8m for streamlined skills assessments for 1,900 migrants in the housing construction industry.

Australian Constructors Association CEO Jon Davies has said that  many factors  discourage people from joining construction industry and long term solutions are necessary.

The federal government has said that it recognises the need to find many thousands of workers to build new homes and its budget direction will help meet that need.

There will be 15,000 fee-free TAFE and VET places with a further 5000 places in pre-apprenticeship programs over a two year span from 2025.

“We won’t build the 1.2 million homes without an increase in our skilled labour force, without more builders and construction workers, and that’s why we are making this investment in the budget,” Treasure Jim Chalmers said.

Overseas workers may be able to help fill the gaps in the construction sector and the government is to fast-track applications for those with construction skills. Those from countries that have comparable qualifications to Australia will be eligible and it is hoped that there will be around 1,900 migrants in that cohort.

A further 2,600 with constructions skills but not with Australian recognised qualifications will be fast-tracked and given practical tests to be approved.

The government has also promised to expand the ‘new energy’ apprenticeship scheme to encourage a better uptake as it has not been very successful to date. This scheme was announced in October 2022 and was to give financial support to new apprentices in priority occupations. It started in 2023 and was to deliver 10,000 apprentices.

The scheme was to focus solely on clean energy but apprentices linked to housing will be included.