Opportunity for jobs exists right now

South Australia’s building industry is meeting its long-term average activity rates but there is currently a valuable opportunity to boost the outlook of the sector and its jobs, Master Builders SA says.

Data released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics shows 11,320 approvals have been made over the 12 months to December 2016 – 4 per cent higher than the previous 12 months, and 1 per cent higher than the 10-year average of 11,214 dwellings approved.

Master Builders SA Chief Executive Officer Ian Markos said meeting long-term averages was positive, but industry optimism was cautious.

“We are heading into a period where we will see a Federal and State Budget, and then a State election. Decisions taken during this time will trigger key changes for the more than 55,000 people directly employed by South Australia’s building and construction industry and the tens of thousands more reliant upon its success”, he said.

“If the State Government is interested in protecting those jobs and building on them for the future, it needs to listen to the needs of the businesses that create those jobs – and now is the ideal time for the right changes.”

Creating an advanced construction sector to retain manufacturing skills is a key area already raised by Master Builders SA and would form the basis of future jobs if the State Government and Opposition and other parties are open to good policy, he said.

“Despite the headline figures of today’s data, there are mixed views throughout industry. Boutique builders are optimistic and are experiencing solid inquiries in a competitive field. Larger builders have expressed some surprise at the data – it’s clear that they are seeing reasonable results, but they feel that things are slowing. From a commercial perspective, things remain volatile, and our suppliers are reporting mixed results,” Mr Markos said.

“Again – what changes can we make now for one of South Australia’s biggest and most-enduring industries? If political parties aren’t listening now to solid policy recommendations representing those that will create the next wave of jobs, then we have some very serious concerns for the next four years.”

The full release including data is available in PDF form here.