The Australian economy is at risk of further slowdowns if productivity challenges continue to be ignored and the Government ties the hands of business says Master Builders Australia Acting CEO Shaun Schmitke.
“Australia’s economy grew by only 0.2 per cent over the quarter heavily influenced by the strength of engineering construction which is up by 3.1 per cent.
“A strong building industry means a strong economy. The inextricable ties between construction activity and the broader health of the economy are again on display.
“However, there is no getting away from the fact that economic growth is weak.
“There continues to be significant uncertainty and volatility in the sector with the combination of rising inflation and interest rates and labour shortages which are adding to the growing list of pressures on the industry.
“Looking ahead, we cannot continue to rely on the tightening of business and mortgage holders’ purse strings to steer the ship.
“Governments must lift the handbrake on the building and construction industry by bringing down the cost of doing business and addressing supply side barriers.
“Productivity performance in construction is going backwards. There have been too many missed opportunities to unlock productivity in building and construction to support the efficient delivery of projects.
“We should be promoting productivity in the sector and not tying its hands.
“The proposed changes to workplace laws are contributing to ongoing uncertainty, and we urge the government to avoid productivity-sapping policies that undermine the very fabric of small business: flexibility, entrepreneurship and choice.
“We should not be creating a more complex and disincentivised environment that deters people from the industry with an urgent need of half a million new entrants by 2026.
“Governments need to look at what impact their regulations and policies have on the cost of building homes and on the cost of building social infrastructure; that includes workplace laws, the cost of planning and the need for more titled land,” Mr Schmitke said.
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