ACT Budget a Welcome Boost to Canberra’s Construction Industry
Today’s ACT budget has announced a $2.8 billion four year capital works program, has injected more private sector competition into land release, and maintained funding for the region’s vocational education sector.
Capital Works Program
Master Builders ACT Executive Director, Kirk Coningham said “the region’s construction industry heaved a sigh of relief when the ACT government announced a $2.8 billion infrastructure program over four years in today's ACT budget including additional capital works in addition to expenditure on light rail stage 1 and 2.”
“The region’s builders and contractors had been fearing expenditure on light rail stage 1 would detract from expenditure on critical education, health and road infrastructure.” In 2017-18 the budget has allocated $114 million for new capital works, $713 million for works-in-progress and $60 million for the Better Infrastructure Fund.
Coupled with the Local Industry Participation Policy that commenced on 1 January 2017, the budget announcements will ensure significant flow on benefits to our economy - potentially for many years to come,” Kirk Coningham said.
Land Release Program
Master Builders ACT has welcomed the government’s response to industry calls for more private sector involvement in future land releases. In addition to Land Development Agency releases at Throsby, Taylor, Wright, Coombs and Strathnarin, the four year land release program will see an increasing contribution from private sector developers at Denman Prospect and from approximately 2,000 privately held undeveloped sites already released. In the longer term, private sector land release will be boosted with the development of land owned by the CSIRO. This will ensure supply of land for housing better matches demand and price increases are kept to a minimum.
Critically important to the region’s residential builders is recognition in the land release program that more land for single houses and affordable medium density housing will be released, rebalancing the supply of housing and apartments. Nothing flows through to the economy more quickly than the construction of new homes. It's a win-win for the entire community,” Kirk Coningham said.
Continued funding for the vocational education sector, as well as targeted funding to attract more women and mature age workers to the construction industry, are welcome announcements.
Master Builders ACT has been warning of significant skills shortages in the construction sector for some time. To address this Master Builders ACT has increased its 2017 intake of construction apprentices by 40%. This increase is subsidised largely by contributions from Master Builder members.
“We have called on both Federal and State and Territory governments to support an open and contestable national training system that provides students and employers with choices to access the most relevant training to secure a job. We are pleased to see the ACT government deliver on its part of this commitment,” Mr Coningham said.
For media enquiries:
Kirk Coningham, Executive Director - 0417 142 467
Karen Freer, Marketing Manager - 0437 955 923