Irrespective of the election’s outcome I can assure you HIA will continue to push the federal government to deliver on the 10 federal HIA Election Imperatives that were at the centre of HIA’s pre-election efforts: they weren’t just for election publicity. The imperatives will continue to drive HIA’s policy agenda for the foreseeable future. Issues, such as restoring government commitment to home ownership and reducing the excessive taxation on housing, are too important to leave at the polling booth.
As residential building activity continues to ease back from the record highs of recent years, the implementation of the imperatives will be even more important in setting the industry on a solid foundation. The slowing in activity presents opportunities as well as the obvious challenges. The next year or so will provide breathing space for members to invest in their businesses to make them more efficient and profitable, and better able to capitalise on the next upturn.
As well as investment in business technology and marketing, a crucial area of investment needed right now is in growing industry’s skills base, both on and off the building site. Investing in an apprentice, hopefully through HIA, is probably one of the most cost-effective investments that you can make right now. By the time your new apprentice has reached a level of proficiency, activity will have picked up and you will have a loyal worker for your business.
If every HIA member took on just one additional apprentice the industry’s skills challenge would be well on the way to being addressed. This is one challenge that I will pass on to Simon Norris, the incoming HIA National President, as I conclude my two-year term.
It has been a great privilege, and an equally great experience, to be National President and to chair HIA’s National Board. During this time HIA has cemented its place as the key provider of policies in the industry, based on rigorous research which, for example, was key in exposing that almost 50 per cent of the cost of an average new home was being absorbed in taxes and charges.