I hope this message finds you well.
On Saturday,17 April 2021, we were very pleased to learn of the Federal Government’s decision to extend the HomeBuilder commencement start date from six months to 18 months.
We hope this news was a welcome relief to members, many of whom we’ve spoken to and have been challenged by the increased demand and supply chain issues currently affecting trades and materials.
It is important to acknowledge the work that Master Builders Australia did to ensure that this change to Homebuilder was made – we thank our national office colleagues for their continued hard work and support.
Supply chain issues and price increases
We understand that, although the Homebuilder extension will provide a short-term reprieve to these challenges, the long-term issues which underpin them require a solution. We will continue to work with Master Builders Australia, all levels of government and other industry bodies to find them.
Your voice is an essential part of this conversation, and we want to hear from you. Please join us at our upcoming Trade Nights in Traralgon, and Caulfield to add your thoughts and feedback to better inform our advocacy work.
In the meantime, if you have any questions about how supply chain issues and price increases can be managed, please reach out to our legal team on (03) 9411 4555 or email [email protected].
Building Systems Review
Another area we are seeking your feedback on is the Victorian Government’s Expert Panel’s Review of Victoria’s Building System.
Now that the discussion paper is available click here to view, it is crucial that our industry grasps the opportunity to address the issues affecting our sector. MBV will be submitting a response to the paper, which will be based on the feedback we receive from members. I therefore encourage you to let us know your views so that we can ensure we are advocating in the best interests of you and your business.
The best way to provide us with feedback is to attend to a Trade Night where MBV team members will be discussing the review. Alternatively, you can provide your views in writing at [email protected].
Victorian Building Authority fees
We were also pleased to hear the latest figures from the Victorian Building Authority (VBA), who listened to MBV and reduced their fees for more than 2000 building practitioners since October 2020 to assist them in dealing with the financial fallout of COVID-19.
This initiative has saved builders and plumbers over $500,000, and eligible practitioners can still apply for the scheme until 30 June 2021 to save on registration, application, and renewal fees.
As part of our continued conversations with the VBA, we are working with them on the upcoming changes to Continuing Professional Development (CPD) and ensuring the adoption of mandatory CPD in Victoria is implemented as smoothly as possible. We hope to bring you more on the steps in this process shortly.
COVID-19 lessons learned
On behalf of the Building Industry group of Employer Associations and Unions (the group known as the BIG1), MBV recently led a discussion with the State Government on “lessons learned” from COVID-19, and particularly, the five-day circuit breaker lockdown in February 2021.
The briefing included advisers from the Premier’s Private Office, together with advisers from the ministerial offices of the Treasurer, Minister for Economic Development and Minister for Industrial Relations, Minister for Racing, Minister for Tourism, Sport and Major Events, Minister for Industry Support and Recovery, Minister for Trade, Minister for Business Precincts and Minister for Planning and Minister for Housing. Also in attendance were senior officials from the Department of Jobs, Precincts and Regions (DJPR).
The purpose of the private briefing was to provide feedback from the BIG1 about the recent circuit breaker, experiences from the 2020 lockdown and implications for our industry.
Ministerial advisers and senior DJPR officials were interested in the industry feedback and expressed direct appreciation for the efforts of the BIG1 throughout the pandemic.
The appreciation for the significant and proactive work of the BIG1 was reiterated by both advisers and officials, noting the extent of coordinated
input and interactions, particularly during 2020 and assisting negotiations for the Roadmap during the Stage 4 lockdown.
One adviser expressed a personal view that the building and construction industry was “best practice” and continues to be a recommended approach for other industries to take.
On behalf of MBV and the BIG1, some of our key messages to the advisers and officials included:
Ensuring that our industry is considered an essential service – not subject to lockdowns experienced during the Circuit Breaker, considering the low-risk nature of the building construction and development activities and the strength of our Industry Guidelines.
Continuing to work collaboratively and closely with DHS/CHO and DJPR to ensure that COVID-19 “rules” are clear and responsive to the needs of our industry.
Appreciation of the support and forums for dialogue – two-way communication is vital.
Being strongly supportive of the Industry Liaison Officer (ILO) as a key role for our industry, particularly within DHS.
Confirmation of the significant success and reach of the Culturally and Linguistically (CALD) work supporting our industry and the community, particularly with the vaccination rollout challenges.
We know it’s tough
We understand that many of you are struggling during this building boom. Please be assured that, like we did last year through the pandemic, we will continue to support you and work on your behalf to advocate to Governments.
Please don’t suffer in silence. If you need help, please contact:
The Victorian Government has also launched it's 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 9am to 10pm on weekdays and 9am to 5pm on weekends.
Thank you for your ongoing support of Master Builders Victoria.
Stay well and safe.