The building industry is the cornerstone of the Queensland economy: the number one employer of full-time jobs and the number one contributor to gross state product. There is no doubt that the industry is positive about the future, following an improvement in conditions over the past 12 months.
However, Master Builders' deputy executive director, Paul Bidwell, said that while things have improved, the news is not positive right across the state or for all areas of construction and further policy reform is needed to support continued growth of the industry.
"The residential sector in the south east corner is particularly strong, however, Central Queensland and Mackay and Whitsunday, which have relied heavily on the resources sector, are still languishing and the commercial sector also continues to struggle with the lack of demand," says Bidwell.
"We have seen positive policy changes on a range of fronts in recent times that have assisted the building industry right across the state.
"Changes to workers' compensation and right of entry laws have both helped to improve efficiency and create confidence, while reforms to the building industry regulator, the Queensland Building and Construction Commission, have gone a long way to addressing problems with building disputes and licensing.
"However, there is no doubt that more needs to be done to build on the reforms of the past two years and continue the good work to bolster the industry."
Coming into the election, Master Builders is calling on all parties to commit to initiatives that will chart a course for growth in the building and construction industry. Master Builders will be urging the new state government to:
- Stimulate demand for new construction by increasing government investment in infrastructure and reducing stamp duty for new housing
- Assist in containing building costs by ensuring that the benefits of all environmental and energy requirements for new housing exceed the cost; working with industry to increase the uptake of new materials and methods of construction; and further reforms to the planning and development assessment system
- Use the Queensland Code of Practice for the Building and Construction Industry to improve productivity on worksites; and introduce 'protection from protestor' laws to end the intimidation of workers
- Maintain a Queensland-based approach to workplace health and safety laws and restore insurance cover for third parties under the state's workers' compensation scheme
- Improve the capacity of building contractors to better manage construction risk, in particular ensuring all contractors, engineers and other building professions are held accountable for their work
- Provide training that is relevant and beneficial to the industry, in particular revamping the apprenticeship system
"These actions will go a long way to addressing a number of constraints that continue to plague the industry," Mr Bidwell says.
"We are keen to work with the new government to help shape their priorities for Queensland's building and construction industry and to build on the reforms that have already been implemented.
"Pursuing these will help strengthen our industry and in turn create a stronger Queensland economy."
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