Today the Chief Minister, Andrew Barr delivered a State of the Territory Business Address, demonstrating a clear understanding of the size of the economic challenge ahead, but announcing no new infrastructure projects to support the local construction industry.
Master Builders ACT CEO, Michael Hopkins said, “Master Builders ACT is disappointed that no new announcements were made for investment in the building and construction sector today.Ã¢â‚¬Â
“While we welcome the commitment to major projects such as the SPIRE health project, Light Rail stage 2, and Woden CIT, construction on these projects is months or years away,Ã¢â‚¬Â he said.
Mr Hopkins said, “Construction jobs are not created until construction commences and until then there is an increasing gap in the infrastructure pipeline which is causing many local businesses to be anxious about where the next job is coming from.Ã¢â‚¬Â
“The ACT Government has so far failed to announce a four year infrastructure plan or commit to the next 12 months of capital works spending leaving local contractors in limbo wondering what the future pipeline of work will look like,Ã¢â‚¬Â he said.
Mr Hopkins said, “It is crucial that the four year capital works program is urgently released so that industry has confidence of the work pipeline ahead. The livelihoods of almost 20,000 Canberrans and their families depends on the future pipeline of work.Ã¢â‚¬Â
“Recently released ABS data shows that construction job losses are continuing while employment in other industries is improving as restrictions are eased,Ã¢â‚¬Â he said.
Mr Hopkins said, “Unless significant investment and realisation of work on major projects across the ACT commences immediately in the new financial year, these figures will continue to worsen.Ã¢â‚¬Â
“The ACT Government must deliver a capital works program which supports ACT’s growth, creates employment and builds a legacy of infrastructure of the ACT community,Ã¢â‚¬Â he said.
Mr Hopkins said, “Master Builders ACT also welcomes the continuation of spending on ACT social housing, which will assist local residential builders and subcontractors.Ã¢â‚¬Â
“The ACT Government could provide further support by adopting the suggestions put forward by the MBA last month such as increasing spending on social housing and introducing an Energy Efficiency and Accessible Housing Upgrade fund which will support small renovation builders,Ã¢â‚¬Â he said.