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Canberra Today 13°/15° | Wednesday, October 20, 2021 | Digital Edition | Crossword & Sudoku

A drop in employment leads to construction delays

Michael Hopkins. Photo: Geoff Comfort

EMPLOYMENT in the ACT’s building and construction sector has slumped to 15,331, down from a high of 20,025 in May last year, according to employment data released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics today (September 24). 

Master Builders ACT CEO Michael Hopkins said the August employment data recorded just prior to lockdown, but when travel restrictions were in place from NSW, illustrates the level of dependence on interstate workers to deliver construction projects in the ACT.

While the local construction industry is grateful to be able to operate through the ACT’s lockdown period, Mr Hopkins said the workforce limitations mean productivity is low leading to project delays and price rises.

“Anyone with a building project underway should be speaking to their builder about the impact of the lockdown on project cost and completion dates,” he said.

“The MBA is hoping that the ACT’s pathway out of lockdown includes the ability for essential workers to travel to the ACT from low-risk areas of NSW.”

“Allowing essential workers from low-risk areas of NSW will allow specialist trades to return to the ACT to complete projects started prior to lockdown, and permanent ACT construction workers who live outside the 10 postcode area to return to their job.”

Currently, he said the local industry is building 20 per cent more with 25 per cent less workforce compared to just over a year ago.

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