State budget leaves commercial builders with blurred vision of the future

1 December 2020

BUILDERS remain without a clear picture of the pipeline of work for the next four years, despite the Palaszczuk government confirming its planned $14.8B annual capital works spend in today’s State Budget.

With residential and non-residential construction hailed as among the top three to lead Queensland’s post-COVID economic recovery, Master Builders Deputy CEO Paul Bidwell said clarity for the industry was well overdue.

“The government has earmarked significant investment in schools and hospitals across the state – and we just want to know exactly where that is going,” Mr Bidwell said.

“The fact there are no new taxes to be introduced is a relief, and we support the plan to borrow to build, particularly given interest rates are historically low.

“However, despite the Treasurer’s optimistic outlook that jobs growth and interstate migration will bounce back, commercial builders are in a world of pain, as compared to the residential building sector.”

The October ABS building approvals figures highlight that ongoing shortage, with non-residential projects plunging almost eight per cent across the state in the last twelve months.

“While the $56B capital works and infrastructure spend over the next four years is a welcome boost, the government must actually get on with spending this money, particularly on public buildings, and by further investing in social housing,” Mr Bidwell said.

“These types of projects will deliver a more immediate impact on the economy, by putting more people to work right away, and delivering the housing and facilities the 86,000-plus interstate migrants expected to move to Queensland by 2024 will need.”

After welcoming the extension of the Federal government’s HomeBuilder grant to 31 March 2021, Mr Bidwell said it was also disappointing Queensland’s $5,000 Regional home building boost grant looked destined for the chopping block as of 31 December, with no mention in the Budget.

“The September regional ABS approvals figures show the demand for new housing in places like the Far North, North and Wide Bay Burnett regions far outstrip the metropolitan areas.

“It’s a shame to see something that was doing so much good coming to an end.”


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