Builders call for national cabinet consensus to stop economic decline

Australia’s builders are calling for a National Cabinet consensus to deal cohesively and practically with the health and economic impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

This as the country braces for a historic recession as the Australian Bureau of Statistics reports a 7% fall in June quarter Gross Domestic Product.

“This is a fundamental requirement to instilling the confidence necessary to arrest the shocking drops in private sector demand and household spending that are driving the decline in economic growth,” Denita Wawn, CEO of Master Builders Australia said.

“Our industry is confronting forecast declines of 27% in homebuilding activity and around 17% in commercial construction over the next 12 months,” she said.

“This will have a devastating impact on the nearly 400,000 businesses, the 1.2 million people they directly employ and negatively impact thousands more in the building supply chain and the wider economy,” Wawn said.

Master Builders is calling for bold action from the Federal Government in the form of an inclusive Federal Budget which is now just over a month away.

“We want to see stimulus and policy measures that support economic growth. Investment in building and construction activity that gives back to the economy,” Wawn stressed.

Master Builders is proposing a Community Builder grants scheme to activate and bring forward the demand for building services through the Federal Government assisting community groups and not-for-profits with the cost of construction of new facilities and substantial maintenance of existing ones.

Among the measures suggested include:

  • Extending the life and expanding the scope of the highly successful Home Builder grants and First Home Deposit Scheme.
  • Introducing accelerated depreciation on capital works over the next two years for all property types.
  • Fast-tracking construction pre-approved civil and social infrastructure.
  • Funding to provide training and jobs to young people and new hope and opportunity whose jobs are displaced by the economic crisis.
  • Complementary tax and regulatory reforms that lighten the load on business to maximise the effectiveness of government spending.

“Rebuilding Australia from this recession is going to be a unique challenge. The building and construction has a major role to play and has been successfully navigating through the health challenges posed by the pandemic to continue providing jobs and economic activity,” she said.

Boosting confidence through a National Cabinet consensus to deal with the economic and health challenges according to Wawn will bridge the gap in private demand which is essential to providing a foundation for recovery.

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