Tradies’ jobs in Ballarat are at risk with a massive drop in homebuilding activity projected to hit the housing industry due to the impact of COVID-19, claims Federal Member For Ballarat The Hon. Catherine King MP.
While housing construction has been spared from lockdown measures, current projects are winding up and new work is drying up.
This is a particular concern in Ballarat, where the most recent census revealed more residents were working as technicians, tradies and labourers than the national average.
“Right now, there is a risk that just as most of our community goes back to work, tradespeople will run out of work”, Ms King said.
According to a survey by the Master Builders Association, 73 per cent of residential construction businesses reported a substantial fall in forward work, with 40 per cent being lost on average.
The projected number of annual new builds has also dropped significantly from over 160,000 to 100,000.
The Australian Bureau of Statistics reports that for every $1 invested in new housing construction, $3 of activity is created for the broader economy. In times of economic shock, housing construction has played a vital role in national economic recovery.
“This is about people and their ability to pay their bills and look after their families.”
“If we aren’t building or renovating houses, the economy will not return to normal.
“The Government and National Cabinet urgently need to develop a plan with the housing industry to make sure tradespeople in Ballarat and around Australia don’t lose their jobs”.
“One way to do this would be building or upgrading social housing.”
“Whenever we’ve had a crisis, after the war or the Great Depression, building houses has helped us to find a way out of the crisis. We can do that again.”
“Building more affordable housing will not only keep our tradies in our community in a job, but it will also deliver a roof over their head to so many people who need it.