Master Builders Australia welcomes the Government’s continuing commitment to Budget repair in the Mid-Year Economic Fiscal Outlook (MYEFO) and stresses the need for the Parliament to support the Government’s remaining savings measures to boost confidence.

“This is critical to underpin confidence that leads to investment and jobs, particularly in the non-resources sector,” Wilhelm Harnisch, CEO of Master Builders Australia said.

“Master Builders welcomes Treasurer Morrison’s comments on the need to promote private sector infrastructure investment through its $50 billion infrastructure package,” he said.

“However, Master Builders is concerned by the removal of around $600 million in funding for the Asset Recycling Initiative between the Federal and State and Territory Governments at a time when Australia is facing an infrastructure shortfall of over $700 billion,” Wilhelm Harnisch said. 

“Investment in trade skills is important for the building and construction industry, and with the cessation of the Industry Skills Fund, Master Builders calls on the Government to refocus investment in the future skills of the building and construction industry workforce, which employs over 1 million Australians and trains over 50,000 apprentices each year,” he said.

“The return of the ABCC is important but its work needs to be complemented by the other recommendations of the Heydon Royal Commission. Master Builders welcomes the additional $2 million for the ACCC to focus on competition investigations in the commercial construction sector," Wilhelm Harnisch said. 

"Also welcome are additional funds to investigate matters arising from Royal Commission including $7.1 million for the Fair Work Commission to pursue referrals from the Royal Commission until the Registered Organisations Commission (ROC) is established and $21 million over four years for the joint police taskforce that was established to continue the work of the Royal Commission and to support the ROC,” he said.

“Master Builders, in supporting the Treasurer’s Budget repair strategy, also calls for the Federal Government to fund competition payments to the States/Territory Governments in due course. The Budget must be put back on more sustainable footings in order to fund payments that support the removal of the structural impediments to the supply of new homes and to take pressure off house prices,” Wilhelm Harnisch said. 

“The urgent need for Budget repair was highlighted by the September quarter GDP figures, which showed a contraction of 0.5 per cent, a wake-up call. With total private and public debt in Australia reaching 250 per cent of GDP, Australia cannot risk losing its AAA credit rating in 2017/18,” he said.  

“Over the forward estimates the building and construction industry is slated to support $1.1 trillion in business and infrastructure investment, which will provide jobs for over 1.1 million Australians and must be allowed to play its role in growing the economy and jobs,” Wilhelm Harnisch said. 

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