Construction sector key to future job and economic growth
24th April 2020
The Federal Liberal and Nationals Government is continuing to work closely with the construction sector during this unprecedented pandemic to ensure longevity and job creation throughout and on the other side of COVID-19.
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Michael McCormack and Minister for Population, Cities and Urban Infrastructure Alan Tudge recently participated in a webinar hosted by Infrastructure Partnerships Australia to discuss the ongoing challenges in the sector as a result of the pandemic.
Mr McCormack said construction is key to navigating Australia out of the pandemic while maintaining jobs and economic growth.
“Almost 110,000 people are employed in heavy and civil engineering construction in Australia and if you include the transport, postal and warehousing sector that amounts to more than seven per cent of GDP and accounts for around eight per cent of employment,” Mr McCormack said.
“Designing and constructing infrastructure is vital to Australia’s immediate and long-term future and we are committed to ensuring our record $100 billion pipeline stays on track during this time.
“The health and safety of workers and the community remains our priority and it is pleasing the sector has implemented measures so it can continue operating under new social-distancing rules.
“The Federal Government has recently called on our states and territories and the 537 local governments to ask them what infrastructure can be brought forward. We are now assessing that infrastructure with responses received from three-quarters of the local councils.”
There are around 160 major projects currently underway including the Western Sydney International (Nancy Bird-Walton) Airport and the 1700-kilometre Inland Rail project.
Mr Tudge said a huge proportion of the economy relies on the construction and infrastructure sector.
“COVID-19 has had an unprecedented impact on Australian businesses, individuals and our economy which is why a strong construction sector is so important to maintain jobs and industry confidence,” Mr Tudge said.
“We have been working closely with industry since the outbreak of this pandemic to ensure a considered and responsible national response, whilst ensuring the health and safety of employees and the broader community.
“We want this crucial job sector to be maintained and remain as strong as ever so we are in a much better position to come out of COVID-19 and get our economy back on track.
“The Liberal and Nationals Government will continue working with local and State and Territory Governments to ensure we address challenges promptly so the sector can continue to thrive.”
Infrastructure Partnerships Australia CEO Adrian Dwyer said the focus on keeping construction going has been vitally important for the sector and the economy.
“By maintaining a focus on the pipeline of existing projects and supporting the acceleration of new investments, the Federal Government has been able to keep the wheels on the construction sector,” Mr Dwyer said.
“It’s not just about the 1.3 million people employed in the sector, it’s the flow-on effect to their families and the broader economy which makes it so important that we maintain a strong and viable sector through the COVID-19 crisis and out the other side.”
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