Response to PM’s National Press Club Address
The Prime Minister’s speech to signpost the Government’s approach to building economic recovery was encouraging on many fronts.
“The Prime Minister’s recognition that there is much worse economic news to come is important especially as the building and construction industry braces for what some are referring to as a “blood bath” in the coming months as forward contracts fall of a cliff particularly in the housing sector,” Denita Wawn, CEO of Master Builders Australia said.
“The Prime Minister’s announcement that the Treasurer and the Minister for Housing are working on a plan to support the residential building sector is therefore extremely welcome. Time is of the essence as forward work is fast evaporating,” she said.
“Whatever measures are announced, they must result in building activity commencing immediately. Announcements on their own do not amount to stimulus and unless measures are put in place soon it will too late for thousands of small residential builders and tradies,” Denita Wawn said.
“The PM’s acknowledgment that the economic crisis results from the successful response of Australian governments to suppress COVID-19, and not from a market failure, is an important signal that the Federal Government is willing to act to give business the necessary tool-set to kickstart economic growth and ‘make the boat go faster’,” she said.
“Industrial relations and vocational education reform have long been areas of high priority for Master Builders and our members around the country,” Denita Wawn said.
“We support the Prime Minister’s call for employer and employee representatives to put aside “ideological posturing” and work together to ensure the viability of the businesses that employ Australians. In building and construction nearly 400,000 mostly small businesses employ 1.2 million people,” she said.
“While continuing to support the rule of law on construction sites we support the shelving of the Ensuring Integrity Bill in the interests of building a bridge to economic recovery provided that other measures are developed to combat unlawfulness on construction sites as the Prime Minister indicated will occur,” Denita Wawn said.
“Master Builders has forged a cooperative dialogue with the CFMMEU and the AWU to ensure the viability of the building and construction sector during the COVID-19 health crisis. We plan to do our part to continue on this track in the interest of achieving reforms to aid recovery from the crisis and meet the Prime Minister’s September deadline,” she said.
“We also welcome the Prime Minister’s indication that the recommendations of the Joyce Review of the vocational education and training (VET) system will be approached with new vigour. Master Builders is in one hundred percent with the Prime Minister when he says an effective VET system is crucial to increased productivity and growth,” Denita Wawn said.