Construction industry demands stimulus as new projects drop off

As the economic fallout from the coronavirus crisis continues, there’s a new push from Australia’s construction industry for some much needed help.

Master Builders Australia is calling for $13.2 billion in stimulus action from the federal government, hoping to generate over $30 billion in new economic activity.

According to new modelling, the money could create more than 100,000 new jobs across the economy as well.


CEO of Master Builders Denita Wawn says the industry desperately needs the help.

“This economic crisis is not the result of a market failure; it is the result of the lockdown imposed by governments in response to the public health emergency of COVID-19.

“We are asking our political leaders to show the same courage and vision in supporting our industry as they showed in responding to the health emergency.

“Work for builders and tradies in 2020/21 is fast evaporating and the indications are that 2021/22 will not be much better.

“There is no time to spare in meeting this threat to the viability of nearly 400,000 building business and the jobs of 1.2 million people employed in our industry.

“We also want to see a dedicated building and construction industry taskforce established to oversee the implementation of the stimulus action plan.

“For stimulus to occur building activity needs to commence. Builders and tradies cannot sustain their businesses and jobs on promises.

“We have seen that governments can fast track construction activity in response to natural disasters and COVID-19 is shaping up as an economic disaster,” Ms Wawn said.

Master Builders is also calling for the new home buyers grant to be bumped up to $40,000, which could help deliver around 14,000 homes nationwide.

While the construction industry has so far managed to stay relatively afloat, it’s feared that thousands will lose their jobs in the coming months as new projects continue to decline.

That’s on top of the 13,000 jobs that have already been lost in Queensland alone.

Just last week, the state government introduced a range of measures that could help the industry through the coming months, but it doesn’t necessarily help the residential construction industry.

HIA Queensland has released their quarterly economic outlook for the next financial year, saying it paints a ‘fairly grim’ picture of new home building, predicting it will fall over 40 percent.

There are over 200,000 people directly employed in the residents building industry in Queensland, meaning almost half of them are now at risk.

HIA’s Qld Executive Director Mike Roberts says the industry can’t afford to grind to a halt before stimulus is introduced.

“Unlike some other sectors the long lead times associated with building a home mean that stimulus is required now to lessen the impact later in the year.

“It takes on average twenty weeks between someone deciding they would like to build a new home and a new slab being poured.

“We can’t wait until the industry grinds to a halt before stimulus is introduced, that would be a catastrophe.

“People employed in the front end roles of building companies such as designers, estimators, contract administration workers and project schedulers are already being impacted.

“Without stimulus the tradies who do the concreting, bricklaying, the carpenters, electricians, plasterers, the plumbers and painters will be out of work and that doesn’t take into account the material suppliers, the hardware stores, the white goods outlets, the flooring companies and the wide net of economic activity that is generated from home building activity.

“The ramifications for the Queensland economy will be wide spread if action is not taken sooner rather than later,” Mr Roberts said.