ACIF welcomes many aspects of this week’s Budget. The new national Housing Accord, investments in social and affordable housing, 480,000 fee-free TAFE places, increased migration, funding for Jobs and Skills Australia, investments in infrastructure and strengthening unfair contract term protections are all positive measures. However, cutting funding for the Australian Building and Construction Commission is disappointing and a negative for the industry. ACIF also notes that it has been commented that while the plan is to build one million new houses and apartments over five years from July 2024 under the Housing Accord, that is around the same as the 985,000 built in the five years ended in March this year. ACIF will certainly be liaising with the Minister for Housing Julie Collins to gain more detail on the Housing Accord and to contribute positively to ensure its success.
In more detail, the key measures in this week’s Budget for the construction industry include:
A new national Housing Accord and Investments in social and affordable housing
The Accord sets an aspirational target of one million new, well-located homes to be delivered over 5 years from mid-2024 as capacity constraints are expected to ease.
Under the Accord, the Government will provide $350 million over 5 years, with ongoing availability payments over the longer term, to deliver an additional 10,000 affordable dwellings. States and territories will also support up to an additional 10,000 affordable homes, increasing the dwellings that can be delivered under the Accord to 20,000.
The Government is also providing $15.2 million to establish a National Housing Supply and Affordability Council to independently advise the Government on housing policy.
The Accord builds on the Government’s $10 billion investment to establish the Housing Australia Future Fund. Returns from the Fund will be used to build 30,000 new social and affordable dwellings over 5 years and early disbursements of $330 million will be used to address acute housing needs.
Fee-free TAFE Places
The Government is delivering 480,000 fee-free TAFE and community-based vocational education places over 4 years. As a first step, the Government is entering a $1 billion agreement with the states and territories to provide 180,000 places in 2023.
The permanent Migration Program will be expanded to 195,000 in 2022–23. This is an increase of 35,000. More than 90 per cent of new places will be for skilled migrants, and more than a quarter targeted to regional areas.
Australian Building and Construction Commission
Workplace relations changes, including progressing with the abolition of the Australian Building and Construction Commission.
Jobs and Skills Australia
A new agency called Jobs and Skills Australia to oversee workforce planning and address skills shortages.
Unfair Contract Term Protections
Measures regarding strengthening unfair contract term protections.
Investments in Infrastructure
New South Wales – $500 million for corridor acquisition, planning and early works on high-speed rail between Sydney and Newcastle and $300 million for the Western Sydney Roads Package.
Victoria – $2.2 billion investment in the Suburban Rail Loop East over the next 5 years and $125 million for the Barwon Heads Road Upgrade – Stage 2.
Queensland – $586.4 million to upgrade the Bruce Highway through Brisbane’s outer northern suburbs and $210 million to upgrade the Kuranda Range Road
South Australia – $400 million for upgrades to the Dukes, Stuart and Augusta Highways and $60 million to deliver on and off ramps to the Southern Expressway and Majors Road interchange.
Western Australia – $400 million to upgrade the Tanami Road and $125 million for electric bus charging infrastructure in Perth.
Tasmania – $540 million to upgrade Tasmania’s key road corridors, including the Bass and Tasman Highways Northern Territory, $350 million in additional funding to upgrade and seal the Tanami Road and Central Arnhem Road and $332 million towards the NT Strategic Roads Package, including upgrading the Santa Teresa and Mereenie Loop Roads.
Australian Capital Territory – $85.9 million in funding for Canberra Light Rail Stage 2A.
Dr James Cameron
ACIF Executive Director
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