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Building Construction, Federal Budget

Federal Government takes first steps in attracting more tradies

Master Builders Australia 2 mins read

8 May 2024

Today, the Federal Government has taken meaningful steps to reduce barriers to growing the building and construction workforce, according to Master Builders Australia CEO Denita Wawn.


“Master Builders has long advocated that we must do more to boost our domestic capacity and make it easier for migrants to work in the industry.


“We have worked closely with the government to make these policies a reality and thank Minister O’Connor and Minister Collins for responding to our concerns.


“If we are going to have any chance of building enough homes we have to prioritise capacity building of the industry.


“Workforce shortages remain the biggest source of cost pressure and disruption for the building and construction industry.


“Despite a sizeable workforce of 1.35 million Australians, the industry has an annual exit rate of eight per cent, and we are only replacing half of those people per year.


“Our recent report into productivity found prolonged labour shortages are reducing industry output by $50 billion dollars and thousands of homes over the next five years.”


In its pre-budget submissions, Master Builders put forward several policy proposals to increase participation in the industry.


Ms Wawn added: “The announcement of Fee-Free TAFE and VET places rightfully recognises the role of not-for-profit industry-led registered training organisations in training the next generation of tradies.


“It’s now up to state and territory governments to ensure industry-run RTOs are held on equal footing with TAFE.


“Industry-run RTOs like those run by Master Builders associations around the country have excellent retention and completion rates, provide pastoral care and support to apprentices that help them find success in their trade.


“We know in the short-term the domestic workforce cannot keep up with demand. Skilled migration represents a vital piece of the puzzle.


“The investment into prioritising and streamlining skills assessments for potential migrants and those already in the country is welcome news.


“For many migrants, it is simply too hard to have their professional capacity recognised to work in a trade in Australia, and they are instead in roles that present fewer hurdles to obtain.


“The Parkinson Migration Review found skills assessments or qualification recognition can take up to 18 months and cost nearly $10,000; time and money people simply don’t have in this economic climate.


“There is still a long way to go and Master Builders will continue to work closely with the government to ensure we make the building and construction industry as attractive as possible.”


Media contact: Dee Zegarac, National Director, Media & Public Affairs

0400 493 071 |


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