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1.2m Aussie building jobs now in jeopardy

Over 1.2 million jobs and 400,000 businesses are in danger after the 7 per cent fall in the June quarter GDP.

Master Builders Australia are calling for the National Cabinet to reach a consensus “to deal cohesively and practically with the tension between the health and economic impact of the virus” or the entire building industry, and therefore the national economy, will be in even more dire straits.

“This is a fundamental requirement to instilling the confidence necessary to arrest the shocking drops in private sector demand and household spending that are driving the decline in economic growth,” Denita Wawn, CEO of Master Builders Australia said.

“Our industry is confronting forecast declines of 27 per cent in home building activity and around 17 per cent in commercial construction over the next 12 months,” she said.

“This will have a devasting impact on the nearly 400,000 businesses, the 1.2 million people they directly employ and negatively impact thousands more in the building supply chain and wider economy,” Ms Wawn said.

“That is why Master Builders is calling for bold action from the Federal Government in the Federal Budget which is now just over a month away.

“We want to see stimulus and policy measures that support economic growth – investment in building and construction activity that gives back to the economy.”

MBA have outlined a number of these measures:

  • Master Builders proposed CommunityBuilder grants scheme to activate and bring forward demand for building services through the Federal Government, assisting community groups and not-for-profits with the cost of construction of new facilities and substantial maintenance of existing ones.
  • Extending the life and expanding the scope of the highly successful HomeBuilder grants and First Home Deposit Scheme.
  • Introducing accelerated depreciation on capital works over the next two years for all property types.
  • Fast tracking construction pre-approved civil and social infrastructure.
  • Funding to provide training and jobs to young people and new hope and opportunity whose jobs are displaced by the economic crisis.
  • Complementary tax and regulatory reforms that lighten the load on business to maximise the effectiveness of government spending.

“Rebuilding Australia from this recession is going to be a unique challenge,” Ms Wawn noted.

“The building and construction has a major role to play and has been successfully navigating through the health challenges posed by the pandemic to continue providing jobs and economic activity.

“Boosting confidence through a National Cabinet consensus to deal with the economic and health challenges and Budget measures to bridge the gap in private demand are essential to providing a foundation for recovery.”

The Financial Review estimates that 60,000 construction workers in Victoria alone that will be out of work within half a year.

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Nathan Jolly

Nathan Jolly was an in-house journalist with Elite Agent. He worked with the company from July 2020 to December 2020.