As the nation recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic, property professionals urge the federal government to provide a stimulus package for the building industry, which has been lagging behind as a consequence of the “new normal”.
According to KDL Property Group managing director Kent Leicester, a stimulus package from the federal government to support Australia’s building industry will keep a pipeline of residential housing projects on track and protect more than a million jobs.
The proposed multibillion-dollar scheme could ultimately include the government constructing residential housing to help the building industry through the COVID-19 crisis.
With an extra $60 billion at its disposal following the miscalculations with the JobKeeper support package, Mr Leicester believes that there remains an ample funding to support the construction sector.
“The construction industry produces almost 10 per cent of Australia’s gross domestic product and is the third-largest employing industry behind healthcare and retail,” he said.
“There is an opportunity here to support a sector which generates more than a million jobs, many of them very small businesses or sole traders.”
KDL has engaged around 100 contractors at its residential housing estates in South East Queensland, including Hampton Pallara, a $20.4 million project at Pallara in Brisbane’s south-west which will feature 61 home sites.
“We have contractors currently engaged in the civil works at Hampton Pallara,” according to him.
“A plethora of tradespeople are supported by residential housing projects including carpenters, builders, landscapers, plumbers and electricians and this extends to all the suppliers of building products and their staff.
“These workers need to be protected from a potential industry downturn.”
At the end of the day, the construction industry required a scheme that supported it through a downturn until there was [economic] recovery, Mr Leicester said.
The property professionals supported other industry proposals to stimulate the sector, including one from Master Builders Australia to create a new home grant of $40,000.
“We saw a lot of new home stimulus coming out of the global financial crisis that had a positive impact on the constructor sector and a similar response now would be welcome,” he said.
Mr Leicester added that the government should also be looking to counter an expected fall in immigration with a focus on attracting skilled migrants.
“Australia to this point has not been hit as hard as other countries such as the United States and Britain by the COVID-19 pandemic, and to many people overseas it might seem like one of the most desirable places to live in the world,” he concluded.