I hope you’re well and your week is off to a great start.
Our purpose at Master Builders Victoria (MBV) is to empower each of you to build a better future, and this past week we have been celebrating, advocating, and representing you and our industry in a variety of forums.
At the event, which was held at Marvel Stadium, I had the opportunity to meet apprentices from across Victoria who were nominated for their hard work and determination to succeed in their chosen trade.
I was excited to see the cross-section of young people who are choosing to make their careers and their livelihoods in our wonderful industry – Victoria’s largest full-time employer – and can assure you that the future is in good hands.
Congratulations to Carley Attard, who was awarded the 2021 State Apprentice of the Year and to all the winners and nominees on the night.
Special thanks to the member employers and Registered Training Organisations who attended and continue to nurture and support young people entering our sector. If you have an apprentice you’d like to acknowledge, please reach out to our apprenticeship team about the 2022 Apprentice Awards program.
Last week marked the start of budget week, with the announcement of the Federal Budget last Wednesday.
Overall, MBV believes this is a good budget for our industry and will help transition the economy back from life support to a position of strong growth led by the private sector.
We were particularly pleased to see the extension of the highly successful instant asset write-off scheme and investment in improving digital skills. We know that SME building and construction businesses have one of the lowest rates for uptake of technology, so we are encouraged that this new scheme may make our industry even more productive.
The announcement of the Family Home Guarantee will be life-changing for single custodial parents, the vast majority of whom are women. This, combined with 10,000 new places under the New Home Guarantee, will mean that the people who build new homes - and the people that want them - will continue to be the lynchpin of the recovery.
Likewise, the new support for 5,000 women to learn a trade in an industry like building and construction will be highly effective in boosting women’s economic security. The announcement is very welcome and will further support our industry’s continued work to achieve gender equality through changes to culture, practices, attitudes, and behaviour.
Given our industry’s current skills shortage, we are encouraged that the Federal Government will spend $2.7 billion over four years to extend a wage subsidy helping businesses to hire more apprentices.
Extending the subsidy will mean building and construction employers can give more people the opportunity to find rewarding, secure, and well-paid employment in our industry.
Lastly, the Federal Government has directed $15 billion into the nation’s infrastructure, $2 billion of which will be specifically for Victoria. This fund will play a vital role, not only in completing the economic recovery, but in underpinning a strong economy into the future by supporting our communities and 30,000 jobs over the next ten years.
In my last update, I shared MBV’s budget submission to the State Government. The State Budget will be released tomorrow, and we are eager to review its inclusions.
However, we were concerned by the news over the weekend that the State Government intends to impose significant property tax increases, which may impact Victorian homeowners, homebuyers, and investors.
On behalf of our members, we joined with the Property Council Australia, Urban Development Institute of Australia (Victoria), Housing Industry Association and the Real Estate Institute of Victoria regarding these increases. Our member media release and member communiques on this issue can be accessed here and here.
MBV remains committed to being part of a constructive conversation about appropriate tax reform for Victoria, and we will continue to keep you updated.
While we, as the building and construction community, have navigated the challenges of COVID-19 reasonably well, I wanted to remind you all that the pandemic is far from over.
A report in The Age last week highlighted that the risk of a disastrous coronavirus outbreak in Australia is now at its highest level since the pandemic began, and continued outbreaks from hotel quarantine can be expected at least every month.
The report quoted James McCaw, an epidemiologist and mathematical biologist with the University of Melbourne, leading a research team providing modelling on the pandemic to the Federal Government.
Mr McCaw said that while a spate of outbreaks from the hotel quarantine system over the past six months had been managed incredibly well, the nation had also been lucky.
Everyone must remember that we are still in the middle of a global pandemic, and unfortunately, given Australia’s current ‘luck,’ there appears to be an increase in community and industry complacency.
Our industry cannot afford to be complacent and I urge all members to review the COVID-19 Building and Construction Industry Guidelines (you can access them here), and conduct an honest assessment of your worksites.
The Guidelines are designed for a real purpose and have as much, if not more, relevance now than ever.
Last week, MBV President Mark Little and I spoke to a range of media regarding the ongoing timber shortage and the severe impact it is having on our industry, including reported thefts on site.
We understand this is a challenging time, and we have developed some Legal FAQs to help members negate the implication of price increases and material delays on new and existing contracts.
We are continuing to work with all levels of government and our industry partners to find solutions to this issue. However, if you are not coping, please don't suffer in silence. There are support services available to assist you. If you need help, please contact:
The State Government has also launched its Partners in Wellbeing Helpline for Victorian business owners, their employees and business advisers. The 1300 375 330 Helpline is available seven days a week from 9 am to 10 pm on weekdays and 9 am to 5 pm on weekends.
Thank you for your ongoing support of Master Builders Victoria.
Stay well and safe.