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Federal budget must address skilled labour shortage to achieve 1.2 million new homes target, says HIA


The Housing Industry Association (HIA) has called on the Australian government to prioritise increasing skilled labour and apprentices in the upcoming Federal budget to achieve the National Housing Accord’s goal of building 1.2 million new homes.

According to Jocelyn Martin, HIA Managing Director, the delivery of the ambitious housing target “can only be realised by increasing skilled labour and apprentices in Australia.”

Ms Martin’s comments follow the release of the HIA trades report, which revealed an acute shortage of skilled trades across the building sector, further exacerbated by government programs drawing workers away from the residential building industry.

“There has always been a problem of supplying the industry with enough skilled trades people, but recently infrastructure projects have absorbed a lot of skilled trades, as has mining and other non-residential projects, resulting in shortages,” Ms Martin said.

The HIA has urged the government to address the shortage through financial incentives and improvements to the skilled trade visa system.

Ms Martin emphasised the importance of maintaining the current national Priority Wage Subsidy funding arrangements for employers to hire apprentices, particularly during the Review of the Australian Apprentice Incentive System.

The HIA also highlighted the need for immigration settings that allow the building industry to access skilled labour from overseas to respond to boom-and-bust cycles caused by government policy.


Research conducted by the HIA shows that the building industry ranks third last on the list of industries benefiting from Australia’s skilled visa program, prompting calls for change.

In its pre-budget submission, the HIA outlined the need to increase skilled migration and attract new apprentices and workers to boost the supply of new housing.

Ms Martin expressed concerns that the government’s push for local manufacturing under the Future Australia Made program and net zero reforms may direct more workers away from key demand roles in the home building industry.

“HIA is eagerly awaiting this year’s budget announcements to see how the government proposes to address this key problem that is holding back the ability of the home building sector to build the 1.2 million much-needed homes,” Ms Martin concluded.

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