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Looking ahead

Looking ahead

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With an array of reforms and proposed changes on the go, HIA has also released our submission to the Federal Budget. Our key initiatives aim to advocate for greater support for the residential building and to grow and bolster our sector.

Simon Croft

Chief Executive, Industry & Policy

We saw a hectic finish to the end of 2023. When speaking to many builders and industry representatives during the Christmas break, we were all looking forward to resetting and having some time away. It was a chance to reflect on a busy and challenging year.

The policy front in 2024 has now commenced, and the HIA team has hit the ground running. There are no shortages of reforms afoot and new consultations on proposed changes that the industry will need to adapt or prepare for.

Here are some significant policy matters that we’ll be advocating for and responding to in the year ahead:

  • ensuring government policies are enabling the delivery of the Housing Accord Commitment to build 1.2 million homes over the next five years
  • responding and ensuring the Federal Government’s proposed industrial relations reforms don’t negatively impact the residential building industry and subcontractors
  • pushing strongly the case for comprehensive planning reforms to bring new land to market and fast track approvals, and meet current and expected housing demand
  • managing the scope, scale and complexity of implementing NCC 2022, at the same time undertaking extensive industry training to support industry adapt to these major reforms
  • curtailing what governments are seeking to include in NCC 2025 and its timing off the back of the largest ever amendments to building code
  • looking to steer where future sustainability reforms go as part of the government’s net zero sustainability commitments and managing what this will mean for future buildings
  • responding to the government’s proposed bans – including gas, engineered stone, and wood heaters, and highlighting industry impacts, transitional issues and impact on businesses
  • skilled workers shortages and supporting reforms and incentives to bring more workers into our industry highlighting key issues around the cost of land, materials and labour
  • further push from specific sectors for greater building resilience matters such as building codes and standards and restricting where people can build
  • negative media sentiment and bringing consumer confidence back into the sector
  • increased regulator audits of buildings and a more punitive approach to enforcement and regulation of the industry
  • adapting to more innovative types of building and ensuring regulatory impediments are not stifling this innovation
  • continued complexity and increased regulations.
There are no shortages of reforms afoot and new consultations on proposed changes that the industry will need to adapt or prepare for.

Fighting hard

This is an intimidating list of matters we need to navigate as an industry. You can rest assured that HIA is here to fight hard for and on behalf of members and the broader building industry.

We need to ensure any new rules introduced are proportional to the problem, practically achievable, and cost-effective.

While we might not win every battle with governments on various policy matters, we will ensure the residential building industry’s voice and concerns will be highlighted and made clear to decision-makers.

Equally, we will call out bad policy no matter where it comes from. There are hundreds of battles we manage throughout the year behind closed doors. These stop many poorly conceived policy ideas or proposals before they see the light of day.

HIA will ensure the residential building industry’s voice and concerns will be highlighted and made clear to decision-makers.

HIA Submission to the 2024-2025 Federal Budget

As part of the scene-setting for the year, we recently made a comprehensive submission to the 2024-2025 Federal Budget. This outlines a range of key initiatives that the Australian Government could take to support the residential building industry, grow the workforce and retain and bolster our sector.

The submission included a central focus on skills and workforce development with measures centred around:

  • increasing the construction workforce and associated building product manufacturing and supply workforce
  • promotion of the residential building industry as a first-choice career option
  • increasing the number of apprentices in the industry and increasing funding for hosts to take on an apprentice
  • dedicated traineeships and cadetships to bring other key construction professionals and those seeking a career change
  • efforts to attract, support and retain apprentices and young workers
  • simplifying and creating a trade-specific visa program to bring in more skilled workers
  • tool rewards program and tools starter kits for new entrants into the industry and reward them with retention
  • support for businesses with the ever-increasing red tape placed on running and operating a business.

Our submission will be supplemented with a coordinated advocacy strategy focused on the critical shortages of key construction workers that will only compound the difficult current business operating environment facing the industry and the ability of the industry to deliver on government- increased housing supply commitments.

For more information, download HIA’s 2024-2025 Pre-Budget Submission.

HIA's submission to the 2024-2025 Federal Budget outlines a range of key initiatives.

HIA’s 2024-2025 Federal Budget recommendations

Attracting more workers to the industry

1. The Federal Government partners with industry to deliver a large-scale 12-month promotion campaign on the benefits of taking a role in the residential building industry, highlighting the job and career opportunities.

2. This program should be supplemented with funding an international campaign to attract skilled building industry immigrants to Australia.

3. Undertake a targeted program for mature-aged people taking on a trade. This describes career opportunities, plus wage and other incentives, that help bridge any wage shortfall.

Apprentice funding

4. Increase and make a long-term commitment to apprentice and employer subsidies to encourage more employers to take on apprentices and to support them through their apprenticeships.

5. Maintain the apprentice employer wage subsidy model as the continuous payment system rather than a commencement and completion model and index to CPI the financial contribution each year.

6. Provide apprentices with a $1000 tool bonus program starter kit and a $500 supplement per year of the apprenticeship.

Simplify the immigration process

7. Develop a streamlined and simplified visa program for in-demand trades and support this with an education and awareness program to assist participants in navigating the process.

8. Provide funding to industry associations to support new skilled immigrants in navigating jurisdictional licensing and other regulatory requirements to enter the industry. Often, these requirements are a significant barrier, limiting the type of work that can be undertaken.

9. Commit funding to develop a construction trade contractor visa.

Upskilling of industry

10. Fund the development of a small business compliance, cash flow management and risk mitigation program.

11. Provide industry with a $1000 per year upskilling program over a three-year period to enable industry practitioners to undertake short courses related to WHS, office skills, mentoring of young workers, sustainability and new ‘green skills’ fields, or other professional skills related to their work.

12. Fund the development of an industry education program on changes to the National Construction Code (NCC), Australian Standards and the further energy and sustainability reforms being progressed.

A need for more professionals in the industry

13. Fund a program to support a range of traineeships and cadetships in professional construction careers in high demand

14. Provide a wage subsidy to those seeking a career change in the residential building industry to bridge any wage shortfall for mature-aged employees.

First published on 12 March 2024

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