Challenges and opportunities
for Master Builders in 2017

Most of us have set ourselves some goals and aspirations for this year - some personal, some business. In my case a much needed holiday led to reflection on Master Builders achievements in 2016 and the opportunities and challenges for our industry in the year ahead.

Naturally, the economy of is central to how our industry will fare in 2017. There are clear signs that increasing global and economic volatility that will impact on investment decisions and interest rate settings in Australia.  

 A New Paradigm 

While it’s obviously too early in the Trump Presidency to gauge his real impact, it’s clear that there has been a paradigm shift that will inevitably affect Australians.  

In fact we are already feeling the effects of the new paradigm with voters moving away from traditional ‘cookie cutter’ politicians and embracing those who break the mould. 

The influence of minor parties will be greater than ever and the legislative process will be more challenging. As we saw last year, the views of a few can have deep ramifications and as a result the need for constant education of decision makers is the new constant.

Our sector featured highly in political debate last year resulting in increased public commentary and awareness. While this 2017 will have its own challenges, our energy will also be focused on consolidating the wins of 2016, such as our successful lobbying for the return of the ABCC, to ensure they are built on and not eroded.  

Getting 2017 off to a good start is the news that our $200 billion industry is now the nation’s second largest. It’s a measure of the success of contractors large and small, sub-contractors apprentices and those employed in the industry in and around Australia.  

We will ensure that our politicians are fully aware of the contribution your business and our industry makes to building prosperity in every community. 

Australia's Economic Growth Path

Setting Australia on a sustainable economic growth path and protecting our economy from the likely global volatility ahead of is must be our top priority. Master Builders will call on the Turnbull Government to take up the politically challenging task of accelerating budget repair and implementing other necessary micro-economic reforms.

Importantly, we will be presenting our pro-development, pro-business and pro-employment policy agenda not only to the Turnbull Government but to the Opposition and minor parties seeking their support for measures that will support a strong building industry and improve everyone’s standard of living. This will be important in countering the political forces that oppose it. 

Revitalising Industrial Relations

Industrial relations in the commercial building sector regretfully remains an anchor weighing down efforts to improve productivity and in employing more young people. Yes, the return of the ABCC is a very big plus but it must be successfully implemented and its job of restoring the rule of law has only just begun.

Likewise, the wider IR reform task is far from over. The important areas of safety and industry commercial conduct will be more relevant than ever, particularly as we go about the task of trying to untangle their use for ulterior motives and distinguish them in the eyes of the public, regulators and decision makers.

Solving the Housing Affordability Crisis

Master Builders has for decades called for policy settings and reforms to make housing more affordable and accessible.

Taxing housing is certainly not the answer and Master Builders will focus the debate to where it needs to be, - building more new homes to increase supply, reducing the stamp duty burden that has become more of a barrier to first home ownership for young people and families and for baby boomers who want to right size.  

Future Proofing Our Skilled Workforce

The livelihood of our industry is dependent on the young people who we need to nurture to become our future Master Builders.

I am saddened that we are not investing enough and this trend must be urgently reversed if we are to avoid serious skill shortages in the future.

Master Builders has developed a comprehensive apprenticeship reform strategy and will work with the Government and TAFES to have this implemented as a way of future-proofing our skilled workforce. 

Security for Subbies

Sub-contractors and the sub-contracting system is at the very core of our industry’s productivity and efficiency. It provides for specialisation and business opportunities for over 340,000 small businesses right across Australia that build prosperity and provides valuable local employment opportunities in their communities.  This year there will be high level political attention on the interests of this very important group in our industry, including a Government inquiry into security of payment.  Master Builders will devote much resources to make sure that the very heart of what makes this industry productive and efficient is protected and enhanced.

Building our Nation

As the National CEO, I’m excited by the opportunity to work on your behalf to ensure that the Federal Government and our politicians understand what you require to run a viable and profitable business so you can continue Master Builders proud tradition of building this nation and in training and employing over one million people in our great industry and above all securing our standard of living

Denita Wawn

Company Secretary Chief Executive Officer

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