HIA: Lack of skilled tradespeople hurting long-term building target

A pre-budget submission from the Housing Industry Association (HIA) believes that the Federal Government’s target of building 1.2 million homes over the next five years will fall “well short” if no solution is reached for Australia’s long-term shortage of skilled tradespeople.

HIA managing director Jocelyn Martin says the association has called for a multifaceted approach to bring more skilled tradespeople and other key workers to the industry.


“Too often, doing a trade or going into construction is seen as a lesser career option and we are calling on the Federal Government to instigate a widespread education program to better promote the substantive career opportunities that exist in the building industry,” Jocelyn explains.

“HIA would like the Government to make a clear long-term commitment to indexed apprentices and employer subsidies to encourage more employers to take on apprentices and to support them through their apprenticeships.”

Jocelyn says that the HIA understands challenges brought by a lack of skilled labour won’t be solved overnight but declared more apprenticeship support and encouraging the employment of apprentices could be taken to help ease the skills shortage.

Along with policies to help draw apprentices, refinement to the immigration system also needs to be implemented to restore the fading supply of skilled workers, according to Jocelyn. This would involve developing a streamlined and simplified visa program for in-demand trades and supporting this with an education and awareness program to assist participants in navigating the process.

“A strong construction workforce is the only way that Australia will ever solve the problem of housing affordability,” she outlines.

“If the Federal Government is to realise its bold goal of 1.2 million much-needed homes in five years, HIA strongly recommends the Government adopt the recommendations contained in the submission.”

Image courtesy of Stu Rapley

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