The Victorian Government’s introduction of the Road Occupation Charge will further burden the building and construction industry, which delivers critical infrastructure and housing to the fastest-growing population in Australia, according to Master Builders Victoria CEO Rebecca Casson.

“While we acknowledge that all revenue collected will be re-invested into congestion-busting initiatives, this additional charge comes at a time when Victoria faces serious economic pressures,” Ms Casson said. “With the added uncertainty caused by the growing potential effect of coronavirus on costs and project delivery times, it makes no sense to impose yet another financial penalty that eventually hits every Victorian’s wallet.”

“It is already in the interest of builders to work as efficiently as possible because delays of any kind increase the cost of building and construction.

“Increased costs do not affect just the builder—they hit the taxpayer and the homeowner—and at a time when we can scarcely afford to make it harder to deliver projects for the growing numbers of Victorians who count on housing and infrastructure to live and conduct business,” Ms Casson said.

Building and construction companies already have to pay council levies and charges, provide traffic management plans, and must grapple with other red tape to meet compliance requirements.

The building and construction industry is the largest full-time employer in Victoria and already contributes over 40 per cent of total tax revenue, making the sector’s health critical to the health of the state economy.

“The current population surge is precisely why this is the worst time to levy another cost to Victorians. It only adds to the burden of budgets for public and private projects.

“Small businesses make up the majority of companies in the Victorian construction industry and the Road Occupation Charge will be felt acutely by them.”