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Federal government takes initial steps to attract more tradies, says Master Builders Australia


Master Builders Australia CEO Denita Wawn has praised the Federal Government for taking meaningful steps to reduce barriers to growing the building and construction workforce, addressing the industry’s long-standing concerns about domestic capacity and the need to make it easier for migrants to work in the sector.

“We have worked closely with the government to make these policies a reality and thank Minister O’Connor and Minister Collins for responding to our concerns,” Ms Wawn said.

She emphasized the importance of prioritizing capacity building in the industry to meet the demand for new homes, noting that workforce shortages remain the biggest source of cost pressure and disruption for the building and construction industry.

Despite having a sizeable workforce of 1.35 million Australians, the industry faces an annual exit rate of eight per cent, with only half of those people being replaced each year.

A recent report by Master Builders found that prolonged labour shortages are reducing industry output by $50 billion and thousands of homes over the next five years.

In its pre-budget submissions, Master Builders proposed several policies to increase participation in the industry, including Fee-Free TAFE and VET places, which recognize the role of not-for-profit industry-led registered training organisations (RTOs) in training the next generation of tradies.

Ms Wawn called on state and territory governments to ensure that industry-run RTOs are held on equal footing with TAFE, highlighting their excellent retention and completion rates, as well as the pastoral care and support they provide to apprentices.


Recognizing that the domestic workforce cannot keep up with demand in the short term, Ms Wawn welcomed the government’s investment in prioritizing and streamlining skills assessments for potential migrants and those already in the country.

“For many migrants, it is simply too hard to have their professional capacity recognised to work in a trade in Australia, and they are instead in roles that present fewer hurdles to obtain,” she said, citing the Parkinson Migration Review, which found that skills assessments or qualification recognition can take up to 18 months and cost nearly $10,000.

Ms Wawn concluded by stating that while there is still a long way to go, Master Builders will continue to work closely with the government to ensure the building and construction industry is as attractive as possible.

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