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Construction sector devastated by impact of COVID-19

Up to 43,000 new homes will not be built in the next 12 months as a result of COVID-19, according to new economic modelling released today.

Denita Wawn, CEO of Master Builders Australia said new modelling conducted by Master Builders Australia showed the devastating impact that lockdown was having on the building industry, the economy and the community.

“In the light of the economic impact being wrought by COVID-19 we have now revised our previous industry forecast which was released in February this year,” Ms Wawn said.

“While we obviously did not expect good news, the scope and depth of the potential damage to our industry and the economy is devastating.”

Master Builders Australia previously forecast there would be around 159,000 new housing commencements in 2020/21.

“We now expect there to be only around 116,000, a drop of 27 per cent,” Ms Wawn said.

“The housing industry is vital to the economy and jobs. There are nearly 400,000 building and construction firms in Australia and more than 90 per cent do work in the residential building sector. Around 388,000 of these are SMEs.

“There is already a current shortfall in achieving the required target of 200,000 homes a year which means that the impact on housing needs of our community will be severe.

“To be clear, Master Builders commends the Federal Government and State and Territory Governments for the stimulus measures they have already announced. We have proposed a range of stimulus measures to the Federal Government and are working with them in an effort to advance them,” Ms Wawn said.

“But what this forecast shows is that stimulus measures cannot wait. Our industry, the economy and the community cannot afford to wait months.

“Our industry is the nation’s third largest, it’s the largest provider of full-time jobs in Australia and they are employed by 400,000 businesses, over 90 per cent of which are SMEs.

“If governments do not act to support us now then the battle against the COVID-19 economic emergency could be lost just as the battle against the health emergency is starting to be won.

“We want the building and construction industry to be in shape to rebuild Australia. We want to protect the viability of hundreds of thousands of small businesses and the jobs of a million Australians. For that we need governments to act now,” Ms Wawn concluded.

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