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Media Release

Media Release – Hollow Promises Disappoint Construction Industry



The Chief Minister has today responded to the MBA’s call for an economic recovery plan, however the plan has fallen short of what is required to support the 5,500 small and family businesses that comprise the local construction industry.

Master Builders ACT CEO Michael Hopkins said, “The local construction sector has grown sceptical of the Government’s infrastructure promises announced each budget year.”

“Regardless of the level of infrastructure spending promised each year, the ACT Government has historically been unable to deliver more than $600 million of infrastructure spending,” he said.

Mr Hopkins said, “Over the past four budget years, the ACT Government’s promises to deliver on infrastructure spending has fallen short by an average of 23%. Considering this fact, The ACT Government’s promise to spend $820 million in the next 12 months is likely to mean only $630 million will actually be delivered.”

“Despite the ACT Government’s promised $820 million spend on infrastructure projects over the next 12 months, a list of projects that will be funded is yet to be released. Master Builders ACT is calling on the ACT Government to release a definitive list of projects that will be tendered in the next 3, 6 and 12 months to ensure local contractors receive the clarity that they deserve to know where the next project is coming from,” he said.

Mr Hopkins said, “When you take into account that the infrastructure program is being announced three months later than normal, and there is only eleven working days before the caretaker period commences, that leaves about seven weeks to award tenders before Christmas.”

“While the ACT Government has made recent announcements about major projects, in every example the project’s commencement is delayed. The Canberra hospital and CIT Woden won’t start until 2022 and Light Rail stage 2A contracts have been pushed back until after the election,” he said.

Mr Hopkins said, “On top of project delays, the MBA’s calls to bring forward construction of the convention centre, sports stadium and EPIC redevelopment have been rejected, despite these projects being highlighted in the ACT Government’s own Infrastructure Plan.”

“The Territory’s complex planning system, complicated procurement system and lack of forward infrastructure planning, means the biggest constraint to fast tracking infrastructure delivery is the ACT Government itself,” he said.

Mr Hopkins said, “Without urgent reform of the procurement system, including the controversial Secure Local Jobs Code, many more construction workers will lose their job while waiting for the ACT Government to make today’s announcement construction ready.”

“With around 1 million Australians unemployed, more than 11,000 in the ACT, the key issue in October’s election will be the economy,” he said.

Mr Hopkins said, “The MBA is calling on each candidate in the upcoming election to reveal their plan to create jobs, grow the economy and support the 5,500 local construction businesses.”

“The MBA will be calling for policies which support local businesses, invest in apprenticeships, reform the ACT’s planning system supported by a long term infrastructure plan, and prioritise building quality reforms, to help the local construction sector lead the ACT’s economic recovery,” he said.

Authorised by Michael Hopkins on behalf of Master Builders Association of the ACT.