Australia’s peak voice for the civil construction industry, the Civil Contractors Federation (CCF), has welcomed the announcement for the 2024-2025 Federal Budget to inject $90.6 million to boost the number of skilled workers in the construction and housing sector with migration streamlining to support housing enabling infrastructure.

“The timing for this boost is very much welcomed as we see a massive task ahead to build 1.2 million homes over the five years from July 2024 and the Federal Government is to be commended for making this investment at this time to tackle cost of living,” said Nicholas Proud, Chief Executive Officer, Civil Contractors Federation Australia (National).

“The release of the latest population numbers present a shocking reality that the nation is busting at the seams with not enough housing and stifled by the shortages across most trades in infrastructure that precedes it.

“In simplest terms not one dollar in housing can be spent until a dollar has been spent in civil with this announcement critical for civil to play its role in delivering housing enabling infrastructure.

“It’s the water, sewerage electrical and utilities infrastructure, it’s what sits in the ground as well as the more visible roads prior to any chippie turns up on a residential site that can now be prioritised to fund civil trades as part of this package.

“Homes in greenfield or brownfield developments where subdivision, water, sewerage, roads, energy transformation and essential infrastructure previously not coming through with Federal Government recognized skills shortages across civil trades compounding the lack of housing underway.

“With the Federal review of Australian Apprenticeship Incentives set to close the day after Federal Budget, there is a need for this review to prioritise the skills funding as announced to incentivise civil training.

“With new home builds having record declines from 224,000 home completions in the 12 months to March 2017 to drop back to 172,000 completions for the same period this year and further declines in approvals and commencements on the way, a reprioritizing of housing enabling infrastructure and the trades required is critical.

“This announcement today does assist in our country reaching its forecast of 1.2 million homes over the next five years to 2029 and we need to be nimble moving ahead to bring all components of delivery in this way as country to pivot to achieve this target.

“With the housing crisis a full blown challenge for a growing number of Australian families today, Budget 2024-25 can be the line in the sand for all efforts including the 40,000 home Housing Australia Future Fund and Accord of State, Federal Governments and industry to solve the housing equation.  Investing in the construction workforce here is the great foundation laid here today– a concept well known to those in civil.”