12 March 2020 

The Government’s $17.6 billion stimulus package should bolster economic resilience in the face of the current challenge.

“In times of crisis people look to their leaders to respond and the Government through this stimulus package has done that,” Denita Wawn, CEO of Master Builders Australia said.

“Right now what our industry most needs is confidence and this clear signal from the Government that they are determined and committed to doing whatever it takes is extremely welcome,” she said.

“There are more than 380,000 small building businesses and tradies in our industry, more than any other sector of the economy, that will benefit from the Government’s strong focus on backing small businesses,” Denita Wawn said.

“We strongly back the moves to back businesses, particularly small businesses, to keep workers and apprentices employed. The danger with economic shocks is that the labour market recovers slower than the rest of the economy so moves to offset employers shrinking their workforce is very well targeted,” she said.

“Builders and tradies around the country will respond favourably to the huge boost in the instant tax write-off threshold from $30,000 to $150,000 and expansion of its eligibility to businesses with turnover under $500 million (up from $50 million),” Denita Wawn said.

“Incentives to invest in business assets are also well targeted to our industry. There is no doubt builders and tradies will be encouraged to invest in new plant and equipment,” she said.

“However, if there is a major contraction in building activity then the benefit of these measures will be blunted. The Government must take a strong leadership role in ensuring that construction of government projects currently underway continue and that projects scheduled to commence are not delayed or withdrawn,” Denita Wawn said.

“The Government could also bring forward expenditure on existing projects. Accelerating construction of current projects and bringing forward construction of shovel ready projects, big and small, would provide an immediate strong impetus for building firms to take up tax write off and investment incentive measures,” she said.

“Our industry also remains nervous about how protracted the inevitable shortage and delayed delivery of imported building products will be. This is a hit to our industry that is looming over the next few months and additional measures and extensions of some of stimulus measures may be required to help the industry weather that storm,” Denita Wawn said.

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