Thursday, June 20, 2024

Master Builders: ‘Building industry productivity key to stable economy’

The latest National Accounts highlight the need for governments to not be complacent and allow industry to ramp up investment and productivity gains to shield against global economic instability, Master Builders CEO, Denita Wawn said today.

“Gross domestic product grew by 0.6% in the September quarter to be 5.9% higher through the year driven by household spending and consumption,” said Ms Wawn.

“These figures are showing a return to pre-pandemic levels and have helped offset some global challenges, but signs of economic weakening are starting to emerge.

“We must not be complacent in addressing some of the systemic challenges on the supply-side which continue to ripple through the economy and will have realised impacts over the coming months.”

She said while there are signs of easing in some materials and labour constraints that have increased the cost of goods and services for consumers, more can be done to put downward pressure on costs and improve productivity.

“The large economic footprint of the building and construction sector means that better productivity in our industry will flow to many corners of the whole economy and benefit the living standards for ordinary Australians. For example, improved productivity in the building industry would have favourable effects on housing affordability.”

“Better housing affordability outcomes would also boost Australia’s international competitiveness by taking pressure off wage inflation, with investment, exports and job creation all likely to see benefits.”

Today’s figures show that the volume of residential building is now 3.9% lower than a year ago, said Ms Wawn.

“However, the non-residential component of building and construction continues to grow solidly as more infrastructure projects get rolled out,” she said.

“Unnecessary regulation acts to the detriment of economic productivity. For the building and construction industry, the lack of stability and uniformity across the states when it comes to regulation is a major challenge.

“Attracting enough people to our industry to meet the demands of the coming decades is a major challenge. Policies around training, skilled migration, and industrial relations all offer opportunities for us to build a more productive labour force.

“The Government needs to stay the course on tackling inflation and work constructively with industry to build resilience and drive productivity as we head into tougher months.”

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