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CEO Update

CEO Update: Managing the Effects of COVID-19


Managing the Effects of COVID-19

Today the MBA released the results of a national survey on the impact of COVID-19. The survey confirms the extreme difficulties that many are facing around forward contracts, supply issues, costs and project delays.  Most alarming is that 73% of respondents report a fall of forward work on their books, with the average reduction of 40%.

While projects commenced prior to the onset of the COVID-19 crisis are providing short term relief for many, the overwhelming majority of our members have no forward contracts in their pipeline. New orders have fallen off a cliff.  The situation is dangerous, not only for the 5,500 ACT construction businesses and the 20,000 Canberrans it employs, but for the economic recovery.

The home building sector is being hit especially hard with confusion about how domestic building activity fits in with government safety rules. Job losses and business closures in the community are also having a devastating impact on demand for new residential building activity. We will be increasing our public communication to ensure that the home and property owners are confident that domestic building activity can occur in compliance with government rules around slowing the spread, but on its own this simply won’t be enough and we continue to call for government to rollout targeted stimulus measures to support our residential builders.

We will also be calling on the ACT Government to:

•            Increase capital works spending to support all industry sectors of the industry.

•            Remove red tape and speed up approval processes in order for projects in the planning phase to be quickly brought to market.

•            Support local business by engaging local builders, subcontractors, suppliers and consultants undertake Government work.

Further information about the MBA Australia survey can be found here.

Our industry received fantastic news this week with the Government announcing that high-value, low-risk industries including manufacturing, infrastructure, agriculture and construction will be the priority for lifting restrictions and rebooting the economy.

However, the Government also said that this move was still weeks away. In the meantime it’s important that we comply with Government regulations and maintain social distancing.

I’d like to end the week by again saying a huge thank you to all members of the building and construction industry, who are following all the recommended health and safety guidelines. This compliance helps ensure that our industry remains in operation, and it helps stop the spread of COVID-19.