8 October 2020
The construction industry has welcomed the apprentice wage subsidy and extension of the First Home Owner’s Loan Deposit scheme delivered in the Federal budget. However, the Queensland commercial construction sector largely missed out in the big cash splash on infrastructure.
Master Builders Deputy CEO Paul Bidwell said the federal infrastructure spend is heavily focused on civil projects like rail and roads.
“Unfortunately, these aren’t the projects that will provide a shot in the arm for commercial builders, who are definitely languishing in Queensland,” Mr Bidwell said.
“It's evident that the federal government has favoured tax cuts to stimulate the economy over direct investment, which now puts pressure back on the Queensland Government to support commercial builders in our state.”
Many commercial builders, big and small, across the state are reporting a drop in their pipeline of work, which will result in significant loss of revenue and shedding of staff if things don’t improve.
The Queensland Government has announced a $14 billion capital works program, to be spent on both civil works and public buildings, and Master Builders will be pushing for the commercial sector to get its fair share of this spend.
“The reality is, spending on public buildings supports more jobs for each dollar spent, because it’s much more labour-intensive than civil work, and creates jobs immediately.
“Each $1 million in work done per year creates 8.7 jobs in commercial building compared with 1.4 jobs in engineering construction.
“In our view, investing in commercial construction is a no brainer and definitely gives governments more bang for their buck.”
With the state election looming, the peak industry body is calling on the incoming government to shore up Queensland jobs by boosting the commercial sector.
“A significant portion of the capital works program must be channelled towards public buildings or further stimulus for the commercial sector has to be considered.
“It will also be important to bring greater transparency to the three-year building work pipeline to further boost confidence,” Mr Bidwell said.
“Providing more detail will ensure the industry has a comprehensive picture of all planned government spending on public buildings – and reassure commercial builders they’ll have more work in the coming 12-18 months.”
Master Builders is also calling for the Queensland Government’s controversial Best Practice Principles and Minimum Conditions policy for major construction projects to be scrapped.
“Without addressing these issues, Queenslanders will be paying more than they should for government buildings.
“The danger is we are now experiencing a two-speed construction economy. The residential sector fuelled by HomeBuilder is bursting at the seams, but the commercial sector is all but dead in the water.”
For full details on Master Builders' 2020 Queensland Election Campaign, visit mbqld.com.au/election2020
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