The building and construction industry is a key driver of the Australian economy and makes a major contribution to the generation of wealth and the welfare of the community, particularly through the provision of shelter. The building and construction industry is at the forefront of building Australia’s economic and social infrastructure.
At the same time, the wellbeing of the building and construction industry is closely linked to the general state of the domestic economy. Master Builders Australia’s Pre-Budget submission to the Federal Government advocates a range of measures to ensure the building and construction industry can play an important role in lifting Australia’s productivity growth.
Master Builders estimates that the cumulative construction task over the next decade will require work done to the value of $2.4 trillion. The residential and non-residential building sectors combined will require $1.25 trillion worth of work and the engineering construction sector $1.15 trillion worth. The construction workforce currently represents over 9 per cent of the total Australian workforce with the number of jobs expected to increase by 300,000 to around 1.3 million employees by 2021.
According to the ABS, the value of work done by the building and construction industry was $172.9 billion in the year to September 2011, excluding around $30 billion of smaller renovations work. Residential building work done was $46.7 billion, non-residential building $32.5 billion and engineering construction $93.7 billion. At November 2011 the construction industry employed 1,039,900 people.
Building and construction is one of the most important small business sectors; ninety-five percent of all businesses in the building and construction industry employ fewer than five people, while less than one per cent employ 20 or more. In broad terms small business accounts for around half of national employment and over one-third of domestic product.
Sound macro-economic policy, fiscal and monetary settings, and ongoing micro-economic reform are critical elements needed to underpin the economy. The other crucial reform elements of the micro-economic productivity agenda are tax reform — including the red tape burden for small business — and labour market reform.
Master Builders Australia continually monitors building and construction-related data released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics and issues regular media statements. Each quarter Master Builders are asked to complete an online survey canvassing their views on the national economy and conditions within their own enterprises. The survey provides a vital ‘state of the industry’ snapshot of building and construction conditions across the country as well as expectations for activity, employment profitability, sales and forward orders.
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