Commercial sector figures drop to lowest in a decade

30 August 2019

ITS OFFICIAL, the outlook is grim and getting grimmer as building numbers continue to slide to a rock bottom low with no rescue line insight.

With an 11 per cent drop in total building work done in the last year (July 2018 – June 2019) the latest Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) figures highlight the hard truth of how tough things have become for Queensland’s building industry.

Master Builders Deputy CEO, Paul Bidwell said new houses and new units have all taken a hit, but it’s the drop in private spending on non-residential buildings that is most alarming.

“A fifth of the total work in this segment has disappeared over the year. It’s been more than 10 years since the commercial sector was this bad,” Mr Bidwell said.

“With things so dire, we’re desperately calling on the Queensland Government to increase capital expenditure, but just as importantly, to spend what was promised in the budget.

“In 2018-19, government spent about $8.9 billion, $200 million less than what had been budgeted and well below the 25 year average.

“Across the past four years, government has underspent to the tune of $4.7 billion and we believe correcting this underspend is a key to boosting the commercial sector.”

Whilst there is a small bright spot in the 12 months figures, with alterations and additions up by 15 per cent, as it makes up less than a tenth of building work it doesn’t really impact on the overall sentiment.

“With the industry already struggling to comply with a tranche of new regulatory requirements and no sign yet of any improvement in the economy, we’re asking ourselves how much tougher can it get?,” Mr Bidwell added.

“What we do know is when the government invests in new public buildings and other infrastructure there is a direct flow-on effect throughout the economy. It affects us all.

“We need measures that stimulate demand. One of the options is to Bring Back the Boost for the First Home Owners' Grant. The data shows that the $5,000 Boost works”.

At this stage there appears to be no reprieve from the onerous conditions. The message remains the same from Master Builders to government. Bring Back the Boost, spend what you promise and help us to keep building a better Queensland.

Media enquiries:

Robyn Devine, Digital Communications Advisor at or 3225 6418
Leah Kidd, Communications Advisor at or 3225 6424
Julie Russell, Manager Communications & Media at or 3225 6436.

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