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Construction key to post-COVID-19 recovery according to Deputy PM

A Queensland company has been selected to redevelop a former heritage rail station into a mixed-use urban precinct.

Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack has said in a statement that construction is key to navigating Australia out of the pandemic while maintaining jobs and economic growth.

The Federal Government is working closely with the construction sector during the unprecedented pandemic to ensure longevity and job creation throughout and on the other side of COVID-19.

McCormack and Population, Cities and Urban Infrastructure Minister Alan Tudge both participated in a webinar hosted by Infrastructure Partnerships Australia to discuss the ongoing challenges in the sector as a result of the pandemic.

The Deputy Prime Minister said almost 110,000 people are employed in heavy and civil engineering construction in Australia.

“If you include the transport, postal and warehousing sector that amounts to more than seven per cent of GDP and accounts for around eight per cent of employment,” McCormack said.

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“Designing and constructing infrastructure is vital to Australia’s immediate and long-term future and we are committed to ensuring our record $100 billion pipeline stays on track during this time.”

He said the health and safety of workers and the community remains a priority but he is pleased with the measures the sector has implemented so it can continue operation under social distancing rules.

“The Federal Government has recently called on our states and territories and the 537 local governments to ask them what infrastructure can be brought forward. We are now assessing that infrastructure with responses received from three-quarters of the local councils,” McCormack said.

There are now around 160 major projects underway, including the Western Sydney Airport earthworks stage and the 1700-kilometre Inland Rail project.

Tudge said a huge proportion of the economy relies on the construction and infrastructure sector.

“COVID-19 has had an unprecedented impact on Australian businesses, individuals and our economy which is why a strong construction sector is so important to maintain jobs and industry confidence,” he said.

“We want this crucial job sector to be maintained and remain as strong as ever so we are in a much better position to come out of COVID-19 and get our economy back on track.”

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