Master Builders Australia survey shows orders have "fallen off a cliff"

17 April 2020, Written by Business News Australia

Master Builders Australia survey shows orders have "fallen off a cliff"

A survey of builders and tradies around the country has found new work could run out in the next few months if orders don't pick up.

Master Builders Australia CEO Denita Wawn describes the results of a recent Covid-19 impacts survey as "alarming", with 73 per cent of respondents reporting substantial fall in forward work on their books.

On average respondents reported a 40 per cent drop.

"While projects that commenced prior to the onset of the Covid-19 crisis are providing short term work for many, for the overwhelming majority of our 32,000 members new orders have fallen off a cliff," says Wawn.

"The situation is dangerous. At risk is the viability of nearly 400,000 building and construction businesses, the jobs of 1.2 million Australians and the industry's capacity to aid the economic recovery.

The executive adds the home building sector is being hit especially hard.

"Confusion about how domestic building activity fits in with government safety rules combined with job losses and business closures is having a devastating impact on demand for new residential building activity," she says.

"So, while we strongly back the current measures to support businesses and jobs, we are calling on all governments to urgently rollout new stimulus measures that will immediately kick-start building activity.

"Increasing the size of the First Home Loan Deposit Scheme and expanding its eligibility to include anyone wanting to purchase only new homes while maintaining the current price and income caps is just one of a range of measures we have proposed to the Federal Government."

Wawn explains commercial and civil construction contractors also urgently need a forward pipeline of work.

"Our calls for governments at all levels to accelerate the construction of social, defence and transport infrastructure projects will continue to be relentless," she says.

"Our message to governments, is that we understand the enormity of the challenge they face but that these stimulus measures cannot wait. If urgent action is not taken our industry's role in the economic recovery will be severely blunted."

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