Construction industry calls for funding help

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Master Builders ACT CEO Michael Hopkins

THE volume of civil construction work done in the ACT continues to decline, according to ABS data, and now the ACT Master Builders CEO, Michael Hopkins, is calling for the federal and ACT government to urgently funnel some money into the building pipeline. 

“Increased capital works spending by both the federal and ACT government’s is urgently needed to ensure a pipeline of work for small, medium and large contractors in the ACT,” says Mr Hopkins after the figures released by the ABS show engineering construction has declined 25.4 per cent in the ACT over the past year.

The latest ABS figures showed that the greatest decrease was in public funded engineering work, which has decreased from $1 billion in 2014 to $780 million in 2019.

“Over the same period privately funded building and engineering construction increased by more than 46 per cent to $3.2 billion from 2014 to 2019,” Mr Hopkins says.

To keep the 5500 local constructions businesses afloat, and the workforce of about 20,000 people connected to these businesses, Mr Hopkins says the ACT government infrastructure spending must return to 2017 levels, which was more than $1 billion.

“The decline in public funded capital works, especially ACT funded infrastructure, remains a key concern for the local construction industry. The local construction industry is already feeling the pinch with stark job loss figures released earlier this month which detail an 8 per cent decline in employment in the construction industry since March 14,” Mr Hopkins says.

Mr Hopkins says now is the time to invest in the growth of the nation’s capital through government-initiated projects in order to keep going.

“While investment for privately funded projects remains steady in the ACT, apartment construction is expected to slow across the territory as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic,” he says.


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