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WA President's report

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Although the year has started at a positive pace, we continue to face population growth, increasing demand and labour shortages.

Tony Ricciardello

HIA Western Australia President

As we approach the second quarter of 2024, the industry is feeling steadier as we see pricing and supply issues ease slightly. Interest rates remain constant with a predicted reduction that we are yet to see, which tells us consumers are still spending.

There is still a high demand for new homes despite the cost of building in 2024, combined with a housing supply shortage and incredibly low rental vacancy of 0.7 per cent. In the face of this unprecedented housing crisis, the country, and particularly WA, struggles to cope with the surge in migration levels. It is these factors that have led to the ambitious housing targets we are aiming to deliver.

While we battle to get homes across the finish line, some of us face worker shortages in the office and onsite. As per a recent media release from HIA, labour supply and skills shortages in our industry will be a key focus of the National Skills Agreement. This recognition from the federal, state, and territory skills and training ministers is encouraging for employees.

Safety is always a hot topic and a top priority. We are all dealing with the fallout of the ban on engineered stone and are investigating options to replace what has been a go-to material for many years. At HIA, the staff is committed to providing advice and support for our industry through this time and encourages all members to reach out for clarification about the ban.

Still on the safety theme, as of 31 March, all material hoists of any height will require the operator to hold a High Risk Work License (HRWL). Several quality training organisations can assist members in obtaining this license and accessing the subsidies available through the Construction Training Fund (CTF). Work is happening in the space of ‘Fall From Heights’, and potential changes are coming in the near future. We will keep you informed as these changes develop.

International Women’s Day was widely celebrated on 8 March to recognise and celebrate women’s social, economic, cultural and political achievements and raise awareness about discrimination and inequality. The 2024 campaign theme was ‘Inspire Inclusion’, emphasising the importance of diversity and empowerment in all aspects of society. At Weststyle, I am incredibly grateful to the intelligent, kind, and strong women we employ and know what they bring to the team. So, I was excited to see HIA’s Building Women Program expanded to include an empowering mentor program and a professional awards program for women in the construction industry.

I am very much looking forward to the upcoming award season. It always gives us an insight into all the impressive projects, people, and businesses our industry brings to life.

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