Master Builders Victoria (MBV) has welcomed State Liberal Leader The Hon. Michael O’Brien, Leader of The Nationals The Hon. Peter Walsh, and their Shadow Cabinet colleagues, to its East Melbourne headquarters for a high-level briefing on its priorities for the building and construction industry in the lead-up to the 2022 state election.

This morning’s Shadow Cabinet meeting, which was conducted in a COVIDSafe manner and abided by all current health regulations, included an opportunity for MBV to inform the State Opposition on how the Victorian building and construction industry has successfully navigated the COVID-19 pandemic.

MBV CEO Rebecca Casson underlined the importance of the Victorian building and construction industry to the state’s economy and how it plans to continue operating safely going forward. 

MBV also re-iterated its call for a Building and Construction Minister to be appointed with specific responsibility for the functions and outcomes of the sector.

“As a non-political peak body, it was good to welcome the Shadow Cabinet to our headquarters and brief them on the current state of the Victorian building and construction industry,” Ms Casson said.

“As a member-based organisation representing many thousands of members and stakeholders from across the state, we demonstrated to the Shadow Cabinet why it’s vital that our industry has its own Minister.

“The building and construction sector is the state’s largest full-time employer accounting for more than 45 per cent of our state’s tax revenue. The value of building and construction work also comprises approximately 13 per cent of GSP.

“We emphasised to the Shadow Cabinet that the continued viability of projects in the building and construction industry is therefore essential to Victoria’s economic recovery.”  

The meeting also gave MBV the opportunity to brief the Shadow Cabinet on the current supply chain issues, which have seen Increased global demand for building products because of COVID-19 stimulus across the US and Europe.

Latest ABS figures show structural timber prices rose 6.6 per cent during the June 2021 quarter, and are now 11.7 per cent higher than a year ago.

“On our members behalf, MBV has committed to continue advocating for support packages for builders and suppliers who are withstanding the worst of the price increases and delays,” Ms Casson said.

“We are continuing to discuss these types of issues with Commissioner for Better Regulation and Red Tape Commissioner, Anna Cronin, who – following our request - has been asked by the State Government to investigate the issue of building and construction material shortages. 

“Our national team, Master Builders Australia, is also working with the Commonwealth Government on these issues.

“It was good to explain to the Shadow Cabinet, firsthand, the full extent of these urgent supply chain and trade shortage challenges and seek their views on this important global issue.”

Other policy issues discussed included the Building Systems Review, the OHS Amendment Act, Windfall Gains Tax, accessible housing, security of payment, and the VicRoads Road Occupation charge.

In the lead-up to the 2022 Victorian state election, MBV is seeking a commitment from both major parties to reverse legislation, taxes and charges that have been introduced – some over many years - and continue to be a burden to the building and construction industry.

“We look forward to engaging with both major parties in coming months to ensure Victoria continues to enjoy a strong and robust building and construction industry, which will be of benefit to all Victorians,” Ms Casson said.