2017 federal budget – what does the construction industry get?

2017 federal budget – what does the construction industry get?

Queensland is set to benefit from new infrastructure and university facilities. There will also be a boost to housing, airport, road and rail projects across Australia.

Politicians have their work cut out for them when delivering budgets, since many groups stand to lose funding and resources.

But it looks as though the construction industry can count itself among the “winners” this year.

Master Builders CEO, Denita Wawn, said this budget will make life easier for more than 340 000 builders and tradies working across Australia, from main cities to regional towns.

“There are more building and construction businesses than any other type in the economy and this budget will boost their business success,” she said.

The Federal government will work with state and territory governments to invest in the future of construction, by training 300 000 apprenticeships in priority industries through the $1.5 billion Skilling Australians Fund.

This could go a long way in addressing the skills shortage that has plagued the construction industry for many years.

The government will also spend big on infrastructure – to the tune of $75 billion for airport, road and rail projects. The Minister for Transport and Infrastructure, Darren Chester, has even flagged the size of this investment as being “once in a generation”.

Zoning into Queensland specifically, the federal government will spend $844 million on upgrading the Bruce Highway. But this pales in comparison to the $8.4 billion being pumped into building Australia’s biggest rail project in a century. The Melbourne to Brisbane Inland Rail may support towns in Northern NSW as well.

This project could generate 18 000 jobs at its peak – benefitting Toowoomba, Moree, Parks, Albury and other towns along the track. The private sector will be responsible for financing and delivering the 126 kilometre section from Toowoomba to Kagaru.

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk was hoping to receive at least $1 billion for the Cross River Rail. This wasn’t delivered in the budget, but funding may be possible through the new National Rail Programme.

Beyond infrastructure, construction will soon begin on facilities at the new Petrie campus for the University of the Sunshine Coast. The government is providing a low-interest loan, and the project is set to finish in 2020.

Small construction businesses in Queensland and across the nation will also benefit from tax breaks through the extension of accelerated depreciation measures by one year. This is welcome news, considering small businesses form the bulk of the building industry, according to Master Builders Australia.

The waiting game is now on to see if parliament approves the measures. This budget could revive the construction industry, if given the green light.