More workers, more upskilling: the HIA’s Pre-budget Submission

More workers, more upskilling: the HIA’s Pre-budget Submission

Construction IndustryConstruction Industry

In the current economic climate, the Housing Industry Association (HIA) is reminding the Federal Government of how important the construction industry is.

Let’s take a look at the areas of focus in their recent pre-budget submission, and what the body is recommending ensuring a strong industry across the next few years.

Attracting more workers

What’s the issue?

With the residential building industry facing an uncertain pipeline of work and negative perception, the HIA feels government needs to play a role in promoting it as a career path.

 

What are they recommending?

  • The Federal Government partner with industry to deliver a 12-month promotion campaign on the benefits of a role in residential building.
  • This program should be supplemented, with funding for an international campaign to attract skilled immigrants to Australia.
  • Undertake a targeted program for mature-aged persons looking to take on a trade that describes career opportunities, wages and other incentives

Apprentice funding

What's the issue?

The HIA feels that subsidising apprentice wages is equally critical to both attracting new apprentices and retaining them for the duration of their apprenticeship. 

 

What are they recommending? 

  • Increase and make a long-term commitment to apprentice and employer subsidies.
  • Maintain the apprentice/employer wage subsidy model with a continuous payment system, rather than a commencement and completion model.
  • Provide apprentices with a $1000 tool bonus program starter kit and a $500 supplement per year of the apprenticeship.

Simplifying immigration

What's the issue?

The HIA sees new overseas workers as vital to meeting demand over the next five years to fill skill gaps in the industry, while emphasising that local workers are a priority.

 

What are they recommending? 

  • Develop a streamlined and simplified visa program for in-demand trades, supported by an education and awareness program.
  • Provide funding to help new skilled immigrants navigate the various regulatory requirements to enter the industry.
  • Commit funding to develop a construction trade contractor visa.

Industry upskilling

What's the issue?

The HIA feels the Government should participate in upskilling the industry, acknowledging that navigating our current working climate requires business acumen and regulatory conservativism.

 

What are they recommending? 

  • Fund the development of a small business compliance, cash flow management and risk mitigation program.
  • Provide industry with a $1000-per-year upskilling program over a three-year period to enable industry practitioners to undertake short courses related to WHS, office skills, mentoring, sustainability and other professional skills.
  • Fund the development of an industry education program on changes to the National Construction Code (NCC), Australian Standards and energy and sustainability reforms being progressed.

A need for more professionals

What's the issue?

Whilst apprenticeships, subcontracting and full-time employment are well established, the HIA feels traineeships and cadetships are less common despite their obvious benefits.

 

What are they recommending? 

  • Fund a program to support a range of traineeships and cadetships in high-demand professional construction careers.
  • Provide a wage subsidy to those seeking a career change into the residential building industry to bridge any wage shortfall for mature aged employees.

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