Government must back growth by taking more shovel-ready infrastructure projects off the ‘to-do’ list and getting building after a disappointing end to 2018, says Master Builders Australia.
“Both major parties need to re-commit to policy agendas for economic growth following the worse than expected performance by the Australian economy in the closing months of last year,” MBA chief executive officer Denita Wawn said.
“The latest GDP figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics show that the economy grew by just 0.2 per cent during the December 2018 quarter, a weaker result than expected.
“Australians know that we need strong economic growth to boost living standards, provide jobs and provide the certainty and incentive for business to keep investing.
“As the nation’s second largest industry, building and construction is already a major driver of growth in the economy but worryingly, a number of components of the economy actually shrank during the quarter, including new home building activity, home renovations and commercial and civil construction.
“We want both major parties to show their commitment to economic growth at the upcoming Federal Budget so that the slide can be halted and the policies for a new period of economic growth delivered.
“As the economy’s largest provider of full-time jobs, construction must be at the centre of the recovery.”
Ms Wawn said it was crucial that “shovel-ready” infrastructure projects were promoted to boost the economy.
“We want policies that will actually increase the construction of new homes and jobs in the residential building sector, rather than taking them backwards,” she said.
“Well-targeted construction projects would expand the economy’s creative potential for decades to come (and) a strong construction industry builds a strong economy.”