Yesterday, the federal Coalition released the sites for their planned nuclear power stations should they win the next election, and they have stated they will release further information step by step, so that Australians can understand what they have planned. The CSIRO recently released the 2023-24 GenCost report on the costs of various types of energy sources.  It stated that renewables remain the lowest cost range of new build electricity technology. It also determined that nuclear power was more expensive than renewables and would take at least 15 years to develop, including construction, as well as the additional legal, safety and security steps required, and weighing the evidence provided by stakeholders. Further, as this article reveals, energy executives, fund managers and investors do not think nuclear energy is financially viable in Australia. Of course, Australia may still decide to make a strategic decision to develop nuclear power, as has many other countries. This will of course be a key issue in the run-up to the next federal election, and it will be good for Australia to have that conversation and weigh up the evidence.   

Lately, I’ve also been continuing to consider how Australia can meet the ambitious housing targets set by state and federal governments, and alleviate the situation for renters and first home buyers. I note that Victoria’s Premier, Jacinta Allan, has unveiled new housing targets for construction of 2.5 million new homes by 2051. A summit of representatives from federal, state and local governments, as well as representatives from construction and planning associations and universities would be worthwhile, to provide feedback for a strong evidence-based approach and strategy, with buy-in from all stakeholders. With both immigration levels and housing targets, the Australian people need to have the situation explained to them, and be supportive of the process. If not, governments at all levels will topple as a result. Of course, sufficient numbers of construction workers with needed skills should also be part of the immigration intake, if the pipeline of graduates and apprentices in Australia will not meet demand.    

Finally, I was heartened to read that construction has been named as Australia’s most attractive sector in which to work, according to a survey of more than 6,000 employees. As the ACIF Forecasts show, we will need to attract hundreds of thousands of new workers to the construction industry in coming decades, and so these survey results are very welcome news.   

Best regards,

Dr James Cameron

ACIF Executive Director

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