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Building Construction, Union

New figures destroy Australia’s tradie shortage myth

CFMEU 2 mins read

Claims Australia is suffering a major shortage of tradespeople have been shot down in a major blow for bosses' lobbyists trying to exploit and undercut workers.

A CFMEU analysis of Jobs & Skills Australia occupation and internet job advertisements data busts the myth peddled by employer groups that there is a worker shortage which must be addressed through migration.

The vast majority of building and construction-related jobs have an indicative vacancy rate below 1%.

In February, there were just 56 ads for plasters – a profession employing 27,600 people nationally.

There are 30,000 bricklayers and stonemasons employed in Australia, yet only 111 job ads, which indicates a vacancy rate of 0.4%.

Vacancies for plumbers, tilers, fencers, carpenters and joiners, insulation and home improvement installers were all lower than 1%.

CFMEU National Secretary Zach Smith said:

"We have exposed the blatant lie that Australia is suffering from a tradie shortage that must be fixed through migration.

"Master Builders is pushing a pathetic fiction so they can access easily exploitable migrant labour and undercut the wages and conditions construction workers deserve.

"These groups should be absolutely ashamed of pushing complete bullshit that is designed to hurt Australian workers.

"The most in-demand job in the sector is construction managers – not people on the tools building the homes, offices and infrastructure Australia needs.

"The most appalling part is this myth isn't just being peddled by exploitation-hungry employer associations, it's also coming from within BuildSkills Australia, which is supposed to be an impartial source of information for the federal government."

Mr Smith has written to BuildSkills Australia CEO Brett Schimming raising deep concerns with the organisation's recent submission calling for more trades to be added to the Core Skills Occupation List.

The CFMEU national secretary also raised concerns BuildSkills' Rob Sobyra's media commentary backing the position of employer groups.

"Allowing an employee to express their own personal opinion as being reflective of the position of the organisation is totally unacceptable,” Mr Smith wrote.

"If BuildSkills is to have the continued support of the CFMEU then we require you to take urgent action to rectify this unacceptable situation and to inform the foundation members of the action that you are taking."

Contact details:

Matt Coughlan 0400 561 480 /


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