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Master Builders calls for $13B construction stimulus

A $17.6 billion stimulus package has been announced for businesses and households to deal with challenges posed by the spread of the coronavirus.

Master Builders Australia (MBA) has called for a $13.2 billion building and construction stimulus action to create more than 100,000 new jobs.

New economic modelling from Ernst & Young found the MBA’s proposed stimulus package would create $30.9 billion in new economic activity, create 105,500 jobs and $17.6 billion in expanded construction activity from new dwelling starts, renovations and commercial construction activity.

Master Builders CEO Denita Wawn said the organisations is seeking stimulus not subsidies from government, and wants National Cabinet to implement this independently modelled stimulus package and establish a special task force to fast track commencement of construction activity.

“Building and construction is shaping up to be one of the industries worst hit in the long term by the COVID-19 economic crisis. We know from previous downturns that it takes four times longer for our industry to recover than the rest of the economy,” Wawn said.

“This economic crisis is not the result of a market failure; it is the result of the lockdown imposed by governments in response to the public health emergency of COVID-19. We are asking our political leaders to show the same courage and vision in supporting our industry as they showed in responding to the health emergency.

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“Work for builders and tradies in 2020/21 is fast evaporating and the indications are that 2021/22 will not be much better. There is no time to spare in meeting this threat to the viability of nearly 400,000 building business and the jobs of 1.2 million people employed in our industry,” Wawn said.

MBA is also calling for a dedicated building and construction industry taskforce established to oversee the implementation of the stimulus action plan.

“Builders and tradies cannot sustain their businesses and jobs on promises. We have seen that governments can fast track construction activity in response to natural disasters and COVID-19 is shaping up as an economic disaster,” Wawn said.

EY was commissioned to model a stimulus package comprised of a $40,000 uncapped the new home building grant, a resilience renovation program and other commercial programs.

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