30 August 2016
Media Release - #2016073, 2016

Building approvals reaffirm need for strong construction cop on the beat

Today's ABS building approvals data highlights the importance of the building and construction industry to our economy and why it is critical to restore the Australian Building and Construction Commission (ABCC).

The construction sector has been buoyed recently by the strong demand for residential construction and while the 11.3 per cent jump in the number of residential dwelling approvals in July was very positive we still need the non-residential sector to pick-up further.

The value of residential approvals rose by 6.2 per cent in July, but the value of non residential approvals fell by 2.5 per cent.

The construction sector is not immune from the headwinds of falling mining investment with the ABS construction data for the June Quarter 2016 released last week showing that total private work done decreased by 3.7 per cent in the June quarter. This was driven by the 14.3 per cent fall in engineering construction work done which is now down 36.5 per cent over the year.

In the face of these headwinds and given the importance of the construction industry to the economy, we must ensure that our building and construction industry remains vibrant and competitive, with lower costs and greater efficiencies providing significant benefits to consumers, especially home and apartment buyers.

This is why the Government remains committed to re-establishing the ABCC and building code.

The ABCC laws will ensure that Australia's building and construction industry is not hampered by unnecessary and costly industrial action, as well as bullying, intimidation and unlawful behaviour that promotes inefficiency and pushes up costs.

Unlawful conduct on building sites around Australia is costing jobs and is making local infrastructure more expensive.

Master Builders Australia estimates that important infrastructure like schools and hospitals cost taxpayers up to 30% more, due to the extraordinary level of industrial action.

We need to encourage further investment in building and construction and we need to keep costs lower.

Prior to the creation of the ABCC, the average number of working days lost to industrial disputes in the construction industry was a huge five times the rate in other industries.

The reintroduction of a strong and effective ABCC with an ABCC Building Code will result in better value infrastructure and more jobs for hardworking Australians.