A strong building industry makes a strong economy. For every $1 spent in the building and construction industry, $3 is returned to the Australian economy.
The Australian economy is walking a delicate tightrope. There are many domestic and international factors impacting the Budget’s bottom line. Over the last year, the Federal Government has committed to an ambitious housing agenda, shown spending restraint, and undertaken a range of initiatives in key policy areas – both positive and negative for the building and construction industry.
To lift economic growth and boost productivity, Master Builders argues that the Government focuses on additional policy areas, while at the same time returning to the drawing board on its industrial relations agenda.
The 2024–2025 Budget provides an opportunity for the Government to open the door to more private-led activity.
The Federal Budget serves as a vital tool to coordinate and ensure policy levers are pulling in the right direction, alongside the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA)’s efforts to combat inflation. It is imperative that all available tools are used to get back on the road to a stronger economy.
From social and community housing, rental properties and owner-occupiers, there is a common constraint – supply. Taking decisive action to speed up the delivery of new homes will help win the battle against inflation more quickly.
The building and construction industry needs to be spending as much time as possible on the tools without unnecessary delay or disruption.
The industry is committed to meeting the 1.2 million new homes target under the National Housing Accord and achieving its sustainability goals by 2050, but it can only do so with support from all levels of government.
At a Federal level, it is critical that all portfolios are working together to ensure legislation is not undermining these objectives. For example, Master Builders welcomes the focus on filling skill shortages in the Government’s Migration Strategy released in December 2023. Skilled migrants are needed now more than ever in the building and construction industry. Meanwhile, industrial relations policies such as the Fair Work Amendment Closing Loopholes Bill and the abolition of the Australian Building and Construction Commission, threaten the viability of businesses and the ability for the economy to bounce back.
There is too much at stake here, and an over-reliance on mortgage holders to do the heavy lifting is not sufficient.
Therefore, in preparing the 2024–2025 Budget, Master Builders 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.