Media Release - ACT Job Losses Confirm Need for Action on Job Creation

Posted 9 September 2020

Media Release - ACT Job Losses Confirm Need for Action on Job Creation

The ABS has released the latest jobs and wages data showing that the Australian building and construction industry has lost 5.8 per cent of its workforce since 14 March, a decline of 68,820 jobs bringing the total workforce to 1.12 million.

From 14 March to 22 August, the ACT has lost 7.0% (1,287) of jobs in the construction industry, with wages declining 5.5% over the same period.

Master Builders ACT CEO Michael Hopkins said, “Today’s ABS figures show that the ACT has recorded the worst construction job loss figures of any State or Territory, equal to Victoria.”

“Since 14 March almost 1,300 Canberrans have now lost their job in the construction industry, representing a 7.0% decline in total construction jobs,” he said.

Mr Hopkins said, “These results reinforce the MBA’s call for candidates in the October ACT election to prioritise policies which create jobs and grow the economy.”

“Hollow promises to build infrastructure years down the track won’t create jobs, the immediate commencement of construction projects is what creates jobs,” he said.

Mr Hopkins said, “The Australian Bureau of Statistics reports that for every $1 invested in new housing construction, $3 of activity is created for the broader economy. To rebuild the economy, following the coronavirus pandemic, it’s vital that necessary investments within the industry are made by the ACT Government now.”

Master Builders ACT has this week launched its election campaign calling for a business friendly government to support the 5,500 construction companies through the COVID-19 induced recession.  

Master Builders ACT CEO, Michael Hopkins said, “The Master Builders Strong Building, Strong Territory campaign will ensure that the issues that matter to our industry are at the forefront of all political parties’ agendas.”  

“The campaign calls on all candidates to focus on four job creating policy areas; supporting local businesses, building skilled and secure careers in the construction industry, introducing best practice building quality reforms, and implementing a best practice planning system supported by a long term infrastructure plan,” he said.  

Mr Hopkins said, “A key focus of the next ACT Government should be to support small businesses by making the ACT procurement system simpler, reforming the planning system and backing local companies to deliver the ACT infrastructure plan.” 

“What we have seen so far this year is the ACT Government introduce changes to Right of Entry Laws with 48 hours notice, introduce Labor Hire Licensing regulations, and support parts of an ACT Green’s Bill to make our planning system even more complex,” he said.

Mr Hopkins said, “To ensure we invest in sustainable careers for apprentices we need the next ACT Government to mandate at least 15% of all workers on major ACT funded projects be apprentices or trainees.”

“This will ensure that our most vulnerable workers in the industry receive the support and investment that they require to be able to lead the ACT out of the COVID-19 induced recession that we are now facing,” he said.   

Mr Hopkins said, “Investment in the future of the ACT’s building and construction industry has never been more critical than now. The future of the industry relies on the thousands of school leavers and young people completing a construction based apprenticeship.”

“In January this year, the ACT Government made far reaching cuts to VET funding without consultation or warning. Only reversed as part of the Government’s COVID stimulus payments, these cuts sent a shock wave through local training providers, who rely on a sustainable level of funding to deliver quality training to apprentices,” he said.  

Mr Hopkins said, “It is vital that candidates commit to the continuation of full funding for vocational education and independent training providers.”

“The Strong Building, Strong Territory campaign provides our members and the industry a voice at this years’ ACT election to ensure their concerns are heard during one of the toughest times our industry has faced,” he said.   

 

Authorised by Michael Hopkins on behalf of Master Builders Association of the ACT.

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