As the Australian economy navigates a complex landscape, Master Builders Australia has used its pre-budget submission to remind the Federal Government of the critical importance of the building and construction industry. Source: Timberbiz
The industry which employs more than 1.3 million Australians and is made up of around 450,000 businesses, more than any other sector, has been left unsupported and hamstrung by conflicting policy decisions.
CEO Denita Wawn said the Federal Budget serves as a vital tool to coordinate and ensure policy levers are pulling in the right direction, alongside the Reserve Bank’s efforts to combat inflation.
“A strong building industry means a strong economy. For every dollar invested in the building sector, three dollars are injected back into the Australian economy,” she said.
“Australia finds itself at a crossroads, grappling with a housing and cost of living crisis that is putting immense pressure on families and the sector.
“Master Builders is an enthusiastic signatory to the Housing Accord. However, we believe that the target of 1.2 million homes over five years is not an ambition but a must-do.
“While governments are starting to make inroads in planning reform and attracting private investment through mechanisms such as the Housing Australia Future Fund, there has been a disregard for the businesses that will be relied upon to deliver these housing targets.
“Productivity is more than a buzzword. It is the key to lowering the cost and time it takes to build homes, roads, and hospitals.
“The building industry is facing a shortage of tradespeople, high building costs, construction time blowouts and complex regulatory regimes that do nothing to improve safety or building standards.
“Master Builders is advocating for measures that enhance productivity and grow our workforce while prioritising sustainable building practices and regulatory efficiency.
“While we must tackle the immediate challenges before us, we cannot lose sight of where we want to be over the next few decades. The built environment must meet new goals, with longevity and sustainability at the core of all building and construction work.
“Master Builders acknowledges that large-scale reform cannot happen overnight or in isolation.
“The building and construction industry is made up overwhelmingly of small businesses. The time it takes for these businesses to recruit and train staff, implement regulatory and legislative requirements, manage a business and keep up with changing policy priorities is significant.
“It is paramount that the government aligns its policies with the long-term objectives of the building and construction industry. The earlier these foundations are laid, the less pain will be felt down the track,” Ms Wawn said.
Master Builders Australia submits the Government focuses on measures that:
- Lift productivity;
- Deliver Australia’s housing needs;
- Better connect communities;
- Build up local defence capabilities;
- Grow and support the workforce;
- Ensure safety and wellbeing in the workplace;
- Support investment;
- Improve regulatory barriers;
- Support sustainable building practices and a resilient built environment; and
- Enhance the federation.