Master Builders Victoria (MBV) has outlined several key initiatives in its State Election submission to ensure the building and construction work pipeline continues to support and grow the Victorian economy.

With the Victorian State Election due to be held on Saturday, November 26, MBV CEO Rebecca Casson said the MBV submission addressed skills shortages in building and construction, increased gender equity, housing affordability, and future-proofing the building and construction industry.  

MBV has also called for a dedicated Minister for Building, Construction and Infrastructure to oversee the industry.

"Our sector is one of the most important to the state's economy, and Victoria has invested heavily in building and infrastructure," Ms Casson said.

"Any elected Victorian Government will need to continue this effort as our communities work together post-COVID to rebuild Victoria as the preferred state to invest, live and work.

"Our submission draws upon feedback from across our sector and recommends a range of measures that would ensure greater ease of doing business in Victoria.

"These recommendations all have one essential vision – growing and sustaining a more robust building and construction sector and, in turn, the broader Victorian economy."

Ms Casson said supply chains and skills shortages were two critical issues impacting building and construction work.

Since the pandemic's start, MBV has consistently raised concerns that impacts of rising material costs, fixed-priced contracts, and challenges to profitability could result in greater building and construction insolvencies.

MBV has called for better planning delivery and long-term investment in infrastructure to ensure business longevity and sustainability.

"Builders will require a pipeline of work to establish the security of cash flow into the future," Ms Casson said.

To combat the problem of rising material costs, MBV has called for rise and fall contracts to be used in Victorian Government projects like similar agreements in Western Australia and South Australia.

It also wants cost escalation clauses inserted in domestic building contracts, so builders are not left holding all the risk due to price increases.

This should be extended to contracts above and below the contract value of $500,000.

Other measures promoted by MBV include strengthening the supply chain to relieve pressure on the building and construction industry.

Suggestions include more investment in softwood timber plantations, enhanced local manufacturing and research and development into alternative building products.

Other vital commitments sought in the MBV State Election submission include the following:

  • Increased skilled migration.
  • Specific investment in teacher training for enterprise and industry RTOs.
  • Further and ongoing financial support for apprenticeship commencements and completions to ensure the pipeline of skilled trades in building and construction is supported post-COVID-19.
  • Further support and research to identify and fund flexible pathways in the building and construction industry.
  • Recognising and rewarding schools for supporting VET.
  • $20 million in funding to increase women's diversity, equity and inclusion in the building and construction industry.
  • Reduce the taxation burden on housing.
  • Greater urban densification and land supply.
  • Investment into the circular economy for building and construction.
  • A dedicated Building, Construction and Infrastructure Minister oversees our industry and drives strategy and change.