Master Builders Victoria (MBV) has welcomed the Victorian Government’s continued investments in skills, mental health and regulatory reforms for the building and construction industry but says overall it’s a ‘mixed bag’ of wins and losses in the 2023/24 Victorian State Budget.

In what he has admitted has been his toughest Budget to date, Victorian Treasurer, Tim Pallas announced that as part of the Government’s Covid Debt Repayment Plan, increases would be introduced across land taxes and payroll taxes for large businesses, in a ten-year plan to eliminate the Government’s $32 billion Covid debt.

Victorians face a decade of new taxes with new Covid debt levies to be imposed and expected to raise an estimated $8.6bn by 2026-27, with Victorians who own a second property to be hit the hardest.

“These measures are temporary, they are targeted, and above all they are responsible,” said Mr Pallas.

MBV CEO (Interim) Michaela Lihou said while a tough Budget had not been unexpected, the downturn in the Government’s investment in major projects and some services would have an impact.

“We understand the Government’s logic and the laudable aim of reducing its debt, however it is somewhat disappointing to know that there will be obvious impacts with significant cuts for example, to the budgets of WorkSafe inspectors and Small Business Victoria,” she said.

“We broadly support the continued investment – albeit at reduced rates – for programs like Women in Construction. As difficult as it can to be to accept, we have to be realistic about what the Government’s priorities are and why.”

Ms Lihou welcomed the Government’s increase in the payroll tax-free threshold which will increase from $700,000 to $900,000 and then increase further to $1milion from July 1, 2025.

“The majority of building and construction businesses have an annual turnover of $2 million or less, so these tax-free changes will certainly benefit them and that’s good news in tough times.”

“We also welcome the new investment measures in areas such as skills development, industry mental health programs, building and regulatory reforms which importantly underpin confidence in our key sector,” she said.

Media enquiries: [email protected]